The Greens have just released their Transport Master Plan for the West which contains specific solutions for removing trucks off residential streets and reducing truck pollution. This plan includes:
- Cancelling the West Gate Tunnel Project.
- $600m alternative to the West Gate Tunnel including truck only off-ramps off the West Gate Freeway and creating an alternative route to Millers Rd.
- Building the Port Rail Shuttle
- Phasing out highly polluting pre-1995 port trucks
- Improving enforcement of existing truck curfews with technology.
- Working with federal parliament to tighten truck engine emission standards.
Contesting the State Election for The Greens is Dr Sam Long for the seat of Williamstown and Angus McAlpine for the seat of Footscray. Huong Truong is the Greens Upper House MP for the Western Metropolitan Region having taken over from Colleen Hartland in February 2018.
Statement from MP Huong Truong:
The Greens have been fighting for trucks off residential streets for more than 10 years. We want strict enforcement of existing curfews, by installing cameras. We will work to phase out the oldest, dirtiest port trucks. We will do everything necessary to get the port rail shuttle built, halving the number of trucks using the port. Federally, we are pushing for emissions standards which could cut diesel pollution from new trucks by 80%.
By enabling mega-trucks, the West Gate Tunnel would entrench trucks as how we move port freight. We want the truck off-ramps which Labor took to the last election built instead. These would take trucks off the freeway at Hyde St and around the edge of Yarraville to the port. Along with an alternative to Millers Road, this would mean our community could have truck bans in 2020, instead of 2022. Then we wouldn’t need a deal with a profit-hungry toll company for a mega freeway which will lock us into car dependence for decades to come. Regardless of what happens, the Greens will stay true to our values and keep fighting for trucks off residential streets, a cleaner freight system and better public transport for all of us.
MTAG welcomes the Greens master plan and support the majority of the initiatives they are calling for. MTAG have been calling out for measures such as improving engine emission standards, upgrading the trucking fleet, improved enforcement of curfews, freight on rail and resolving land use issues related to freight for many years.
However MTAG strongly believe that the port needs direct freeway access, as does almost every major port around the world. While MTAG campaigned for the now almost 10 year old plan for Westgate Freeway on/off ramps, we now believe this plan is problematic for a number of reasons. A ramps-only option will concentrate thousands of trucks on to a single route, leaving them travelling on open roads past residential areas with no opportunity to capture noise or filter diesel emissions. This open road, carrying tens of thousands of trucks, will run directly past Yarraville Gardens, one of the most significant areas of open space in the City of Maribyrnong as well as Emma Mclean kinder and Donald McLean reserve in Spotswood. MTAG believe a tunnel connecting the port to the freeway is a better option, leaving the ramps for placarded loads only.
The ramps do not solve the Millers Road issue, and while The Greens do have a plan to deal with this in the form of an alternative road to Millers Rd, there is no detail on what this entails.
By focusing on trying to get the West Gate Tunnel Project cancelled, The Greens are failing to negotiate better outcomes for all communities living in the project area and it’s likely that taking this position will result in zero achievements. Outcomes they could be pushing for include air pollution mitigation measures such as tunnel filtration and green buffer zones, as well as solutions for Williamstown Road and Millers Road. Construction on the tunnel is well and truly underway and it’s difficult to see how it can be cancelled at this late stage. The Greens responded to MTAG’s questionnaire saying they support filtration in the West Gate Tunnel however to the best of MTAG’s knowledge they have never publicly called for it, preferring instead to focus on stopping the project.
The Greens master plan does include getting “the worst polluters off the roads by phasing out trucks manufactured before 1995 from using the port, unless they meet minimum emissions standards”, however it contains no detail on how they plan to force the Port of Melbourne, a privatised company, to do this.
The plan unfortunately doesn’t include greening the port. Initiatives needed include cleaning up shipping emissions, preventing ships idling on diesel while they are in port and electrifying container handling machinery.