2018 Victorian State Election – Victorian Labor

In July 2018 Victorian Labor released the Victorian Freight Plan. It includes measures to remove trucks off residential street and to reduce truck pollution. The plan includes:

  • Construction of the West Gate Tunnel project
  • Port rail shuttle and Intermodal hubs to move freight by rail
  • Improving roads and bridges for more HPFV access
  • Upgrading the old Melbourne Market site for empty container storage
  • Improve freight handling and management at the port and road networks
  • Conduct a review of the training and licensing of heavy vehicle
    drivers in Victoria.
  • Improve regional rail freight routes

Wade Noonan has been the Labor MP for Williamstown since 2006 but is retiring at this election. Melissa Horne is the new candidate in the Williamstown electorate that includes the main Yarraville residential freight truck routes of Somerville Road, Williamstown Road, Francis Street. Wade has been very active on the truck issue, calling for solutions since winning office and has built a strong relationship with MTAG over the years.

Marsha Thompson has been the Labor MP for Footscray since 2006 and is also stepping down at this election.  Katie Hall is the new candidate in the Footscray electorate that includes the residential freight routes of Moore Street and Buckley Streets.

Daniel Andrews took a policy to the 2014 state election to build the long planned for West Gate Distributor, calling for expressions of interest to build it within the first six months of taking office.  This project included building on/off ramps to the West Gate Freeway to give trucks a new route through Yarraville to the port via Whitehall street and an upgraded and strengthened Shepherds Bridge. Four months after taking office they announced an unsolicited bid from Transurban to build the much bigger Western Distributor which later became the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP). In early 2017 the Government announced that once the WGTP was built, 24/7 truck bans would be implemented on Francis Street, Somerville Road, Buckley Street and Moore Street.  Later on that year the project was put through an Environmental Effects Statement process and construction has now commenced.

 

Statement from Melissa Horne:

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government is reducing trucks on local inner west streets. The West Gate Tunnel Project will deliver a win for communities in the inner west, with 24/7 truck bans to improve safety, reduce noise, and greatly improve air quality for local families.

Building the project, we will ban trucks day and night on Francis Street and Somerville Road in Yarraville, Buckley Street and Moore Street in Footscray, and Blackshaws and Hudson Roads in Spotswood when it’s completed in 2022.

The project will provide direct freeway access for trucks travelling to the Port of Melbourne through the tunnel, moving them away from schools, homes and local communities. The Hyde Street ramps will provide a direct connection from the West Gate Freeway to the existing fuel refineries.

We’re getting trucks onto rail with a $58 million investment in the Port Rail Shuttle and we’ll work with The Port of Melbourne to look at further on-dock rail solution to take even more trucks off the road.

We’re also planning for the future of the inner west by working with Transport for Victoria and Hobsons Bay City Council to look at the transport needs of Millers Road.

Only Labor is getting trucks off our local streets.

 

MTAG Summary:

The West Gate Tunnel project has the potential to be a major game changer in removing trucks from residential streets in the inner west. The promised 24/7 truck bans on major freight routes will finally rid most of our streets of thousands of trucks every day. However, the lack of filtration and failure to deal with Williamstown Road and Millers Road are major missed opportunities for Melbourne’s inner west communities.

MTAG’s EES submission called for filtration in the West Gate Tunnel, citing evidence that modern filtration systems can remove up to 90% of pollutants and highlighting its successful use in tunnels across Europe and parts of Asia. Subsequently the EES IAC panel made a recommendation to install filtration in the West Gate Tunnel. The Planning Minister Richard Wynne, however, went with the Victorian EPA’s advice that it wasn’t necessary and the project was given the go ahead to proceed without filtration. This was despite submissions from leading respiratory health experts also calling for it.

MTAG also have major concerns with the WGTP not including Williamstown Road in the planned 24/7 truck bans. This residential street will instead see up to 195% increase in truck numbers by 2031. MTAG believes this to be a total failure of a $6.8 billion project. No residents should be worse of in terms of exposure to freight movements and its negative impacts of diesel pollution, noise and safety concerns. The project will also see an increase of up to 4000 trucks per day on Millers Road, North of the freeway, in Brooklyn.

MTAG has also been disappointed in the Andrew’s government’s failure to encourage and plan for a greener Port of Melbourne. Unfortunately we are light years behind green initiatives at major ports around the world such as the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland.

The Labor government has also broken a promise to keep High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFV’s) off residential streets in the City of Maribyrnong. There had been a long standing promise that these massive road trains would not be given last mile access to the Port through Yarraville. Unfortunately this was changed in late 2016 when the trucks were banned from the West Gate Bridge because of structural concerns. Initially there were only a few of these trucks to be seen but now not only are their numbers increasing considerably, we are seeing them on Moore Street and Buckley street as well as Williamstown Road,  Francis Street and Whitehall Street. No other residential communities in Melbourne have to share their streets with these monsters.

We are also disappointed that the Government failed to respond to the joint MTAG/VTA proposal, the Maribyrnong Cleaner Freight Initiative, presented to Minister Luke Donnellan back in March.  Despite it being enthusiastically received we are still waiting for an answer eight months later.