2020 Maribyrnong City Council Candidates

October 5, 2020

Local elections, does it really matter in regard to the truck issue?

MTAG appreciates that the biggest responsibility for dealing with our truck issue rests with the Victorian Government and not local council. However, with that said, local government still has a big role to play in terms of advocacy, managing local roads and minimising truck and air pollution impacts on residents. In the past Maribyrnong Council advocacy has been instrumental in achieving school crossing time truck curfews and night and weekend curfews on Moore Street in Footscray. Council is responsible for issues including where new childcare centres can be located, traffic calming and speed limits on local streets and most importantly, creating policies to help lessen the impacts of trucks on our lives and strongly advocating this position to State Government.

The City of Maribyrnong is one of the most polluted cities in Australia because of truck pollution, our own council matters if this is environmental injustice is ever going to be tackled.

How does MTAG rate the performance of the current council?

MTAG has have been disappointed in the performance of our current councillors when looking through the lens of trucks and air pollution. We would consider this to be easily one of the worst councils in years for addressing the problem of trucks, and that’s saying something when many of the previous councils have been hopeless on this issue!

Councillors are integral to driving policy, direction and decision making on council. Over the years there have been some amazing councillors and council officers who have made great strides in addressing the truck issue, however we have seen many council representatives going through the motions of being involved in the issue but actually contributing very little. This is despite many candidates saying they will tackle the issue in their election statements. Talk is always easy and action much harder.

Past councillors have also made a big contribution to advocacy and solutions. Grant Miles and Nam Quach, along with Michael Clarke, were instrumental in their work with us to get school crossing time curfews implemented, along with curfews on Moore Street in Footscray.

MTAG believes that the general disinterest of our councillors is reflected in the overall performance of our Council in taking action on the truck issue over the past four years.  Of particular disappointment to us is Martin Zakharov, who has the reputation of being Maribyrnong Council’s ‘transport guy’. We recognise that Martin has engaged on the truck issue and has attended meetings where MTAG has been present. However what has been surprising has been Martin’s defeatist attitude in regard to council actions and responsibilities, which has included saying that school crossing time curfews were not possible, saying that council could not take action on air pollution, and outlining why he thought Williamstown Road could not have curfews. We expect better from him as he does appear to have an interest in transport issues, having been the 2019 Chair of the Metropolitan Transport Forum (MTF), a local government interest group for transport in metropolitan Melbourne. He has also been council’s representative on LeadWest, an advisory committee supporting growth and regional development in Melbourne’s west. However, to our knowledge, he did not use either of these platforms to raise the issue of 8 million trucks each year on our streets. We expected better.

 

What does MTAG expect of our next council?

MTAG has an expectation that council will formulate a clearly communicated position on the truck issue, will have a stated advocacy position and will set clear KPI’s on achieving this. We also expect council to have a good working relationship with MTAG who is the clear advocacy lead on the issue and has been for nearly two decades. MTAG has regular communication with Ministers, Ministerial advisors, Port of Melbourne, Victorian Transport Association (VTA), West Gate Tunnel Authority, the Department of Transport and other community groups like Save Willy Road. We are respected by these organisations for our continuing advocacy work and would welcome this by our own council.

For this to happen we need councillors who care, those who either have a strong track record of action or who have clearly communicated their intent.

With this in mind we have surveyed the current candidates in the Maribyrnong City Council elections and collated their responses below to help you make the best decision if tackling the truck issue is of importance to you, in this one of the most truck polluted cities in Australia.

We encourage you to read the candidate statements below and make an informed vote. You will notice that some existing councillors have noted their role in achieving speed limit reduction on local roads. Keep in mind that Somerville Road is the only local road that is a freight route and its speed limit has not changed in over 5 years. While MTAG welcomes reduced speeds on local roads this does not impact speeds for trucks on freight routes. The recent speed limit reductions from 60kmh to 50 kmh on State roads such as Francis Street and Williamstown Road was a direct result of work of the Cleaner Freight Initiative developed by MTAG and the VTA, and not the work of our council or individual councillors.

What does MTAG think of the candidates that are standing for election in 2020?

As you will read below, there are some very mixed responses to MTAG’s questionnaire from candidates running in the City of Maribyrnong Council elections. MTAG does not endorse political parties nor individual candidates so we are not here to tell you who to vote for.  We also know that what councillors promise and what they deliver can be very different.

It’s quite apparent from the responses below which candidates are informed, knowledgeable and motivated to tackle the truck issue, if successful at the election. Among these responses, the new candidates that stood out for us (in alphabetical order) are: Jo Canny, Andrew Charles, Michael Clarke, Grace Girardi, Chay Granger, Jorge Jorquera, Miles Parnall-Gilbert, Bernadette Thomas, Liz Walsh, and Peter Wingate.

Of the existing councillors, Megan Bridger-Darling and Simon Crawford were probably the better answers, and some didn’t respond.

And just to remind you, we have only looked at these candidates from a single issue perspective, the one of trucks. But to be frank, the more than 8 million truck movements per year in the City of Maribyrnong is environmental injustice at its worst. These trucks give our kids asthma and respiratory rates amongst the highest in Australia. We also experience lung cancer, stroke and respiratory diseases way above the Australian average and these diseases are directly accountable to air pollution. And that’s right here in Melbourne, one of the world’s most liveable cities.

We have a right to cleaner air and safer streets. Think about it and make your vote count!

 

AUTHORISED BY MARTIN WURT, MARIBYRNONG TRUCK ACTION GROUP, PO BOX 215 YARRAVILLE 3013

 

2020 Maribyrnong City Council candidate responses:

Yarraville Ward 

Verity Webb

I’ve decided not to respond to groups individually. There’s a FB group called All New Maribyrnong Council 2020 for discussion on election issues. That way everyone can see all the discussions. Feel free to post your questions there.

 

Peter Wingate

Thanks for getting in touch. I live off Francis St in Yarraville and have supported the work that MTAG does for a while now, including your many successes. Please find my response to your questions below.

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most? Since I moved to Yarraville 25 years ago and first lived on Francis St, I’ve been keenly aware of the toxic impacts of the huge volume of industrial traffic running through the Inner West. While the noise and safety issues are a concern for me, particularly as young families and residential developments grow in the area, for me the huge and compounding effect on the poor quality of air in our neighbourhoods (some of the worst quality in the whole nation) is of greatest concern.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election? As soon as I read this hugely concerning report I issued a Media Release to local and Melbourne-wide news agencies stating that:

“This is not acceptable to the people of the West and, if I am elected to Maribyrnong Council in October I will ensure that council pushes for immediate action on this from the State Government as its highest priority, beginning with:

  • A commitment to installing air pollution filtration on the Westgate Tunnel ventilation stack as recommended by the WGT Inquiry and Advisory Committee (and promised by the State Government)
  • Greater commitment to the removal of petrochemical industry from the residential Inner West
  • A community-accessible, real time environmental monitoring system, like the Attentis system rolled out last year in the Latrobe Valley, for the Inner west of Melbourne.”

To date, articles in the Maribyrnong Leader, Yahoo News and The Westsider Newspaper have been, or are due to be, published on the back of my media release.  Air pollution in the Inner West is, I believe, the greatest health threat to the people of the Inner West, and a hugely unacceptable risk, and I will strongly advocate to Council and State Government to make sure that the obvious risks of trucks and traffic in the Inner West are minimised immediately.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong? & What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?

In addition to my above commitments, I am in support of and will push for increasing curfews and speed limits for trucks in our residential areas and also reducing the dangerous industry in our neighbourhoods which requires so many trucks to pass through our streets. Again, I think that, where Council has no direct legislative control over the issues, it has an important responsibility and mandate from residents to lobby State (and Federal) to ensure the health of our community.

 

Jorge Jorquera

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most? For sure. The long term negative health effects of diesel exhaust are well known. Additionally, I think the noise pollution and traffic safety issues are also concerns that need to be addressed. I would add that for decades the West has suffered pollution issues more than most of Melbourne, with very few politicians willing to advocate for the working class families living in the area. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election? I could say I was shocked by the report’s findings, but sadly I was not. As I have already expressed, I think because the West has not had the lobbying power of the more middle class suburban areas, we have long been subject to toxic waste dumping, traffic pollution, and questionable production practices. I still have memories of the 1991 Coode Island spill, the evacuation of schools and so forth. I support the creation of a low-emissions zone, and would campaign with local and environmental groups to implement the controls, restrictions and penalties required to action such policy.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  I think Councils excuse themselves from too much of what is important to local communities. It’s not just about what the council can do in terms of its own budgetary restrictions and legal obligations, it must also advocate with state and federal governments, and make a case for tougher laws and regulations on polluters.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I support the creation of low emissions zones and a ban on “dirty” and large transportation vehicles from residential streets. I would also ensure that planning applications take traffic and pollution issues into consideration, and make sure that applications with a negative impact on community health are rejected.

 

Martin Zakharov

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  I’m certainly concerned about truck traffic, and as a resident of Somerville Rd have been for a long time. Obviously the main issue is pollution, noise and air, but also road safety risks.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election? I’ve read the report, and certainly intend to lobby State and Federal governments to take action on the issue.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Other than lobbying, local government doesn’t have a great deal of power over VicRoads usage. But with the completion of the WGT there will be multiple opportunities to restrict the traffic usage of roads near the tunnel and freeway. Analysis will be needed of the destinations involved, but I’m confident a better outcome can be achieved for residential areas. And concerted lobbying of the Federal govt to introduce Euro 6 particulate standards is something that Leadwest could undertake.

 What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  As previously mentioned, concerted effort on changing traffic flows when the tunnel is completed, and lobbying the Federal govt for higher emissions standards.

For candidates that are serving or have already served as Councillors in Maribyrnong, what action – if any – have you taken to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong during your last council term?  Shortly before the last election we achieved a guarantee from the State govt that port traffic would be removed from Francis St and Somerville Rd. I also introduced 40 kph speed limits on local roads, which resulted in 50 kph limits on many State roads, which produced a small reduction in noise and air pollution.

 

Michael Clarke

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  In a word Yes, extremely concerned. What concerns me the most is a variety of issue. The impact on the health of the community is the most obvious; this particularly relates to air quality. The second dimension to health and truck traffic is the impact of trucks on our residential streets and the possible impact on the pedestrians and bike riders; trucks don’t see these people. In addition the impact of Noise at night on the local community is beyond the pale. The mental health impact cannot be overstated. Mothers call me in fear for their children. The particulates from the exhaust fumes are carcinogenic. People living on Williamstown and Somerville road and Francis and Buckly street talk about major sleep issue. Curfews are being ignored. This is just the beginning.  After the issues of health and well being issues, the impact of trucks on our residential street infrastructure is horrific. Our streets were not built for semi-trailers let alone B doubles; that can’t negotiate turns without damaging the roadways.  I could write a thesis on this.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes I have looked at it but not gone over it in detail. It fundamentally confirms that Yarraville and Brooklyn are the pollution Hot spots. This is in line with the myriad of reports we have seen in the past, confirming the physical and mental health issues (including demential) as a result of the truck emissions.  Re action – In short trucks have to be off our residential streets!!!!! After the tunnel is built, apart from those trucks carrying material that cannot go through the tunnel, everything else needs to be DIRECTED to use the tunnel!!!!! This will be part of the ongoing advocacy campaign that will not stop until the trucks stop!!!!

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  The reality is that the current Westgate tunnel was MY idea that I had been advocating since the founding of MTAG. (Ask Janet Rice as she said it would never happen; ‘couldn’t tunnel in that Stony Creek backwash!!!’). In this context, you can see, you only get traction when Councillors offer and sell ideas; councillors must be prepared to take a stand!!! Tim Pallas listened. Luke Donnellan Listened. Government Listened. As a local Councillor you don’t just tow a line, you stand up for the community and YOU ACT!!!!

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  Initially advocacy and the simple detailing of the travel route realities. There is no need for trucks to be on our residential street, particularly post tunnel construction – Offer solutions and explore their justifications for any refutation. Their ideas for using our residential streets fail the test of reason and logic. After that, back to the streets and embarrass the Government. Enough is Enough. The Westgate tunnel project is a multi billion dollar exercise in economic expansion not an exercise in futility. You don’t get millions of containers to their destination, using residential streets.  I would be more than happy to participate in any forum to discuss the truck issue.

For candidates that are serving or have already served as Councillors in Maribyrnong, what action – if any – have you taken to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong during your last council term?  Got the State Government to put in the Height Detection Camera in Francis Street. Got the speed reduced in Somerville Road and Francis Street. Got trucks out of Footscray. Was part of the campaign to introduce and extend curfews on Trucks. Have been part of the MTAG demonstrations for years, stopping traffic. Work with the TWU to look at specific truck routes for OD Trucks.

 

Rufo Paredes

You caught me by surprise, I just finished our lodge meeting. Anyway thanks for your meaningful correspondence.

First and foremost common sense will dictate that anyone living in Melbourne’s inner west is concerned about the truck traffic, in this sense what matters most to me are the fitness of the drivers in avoiding accidents and air pollution.

That is why my organisation Freemasons Victoria is encouraging all members and their families to go green, in the use of all our vehicles, meaning go for electric vehicles and completely eradicate pollution. Please visit our website Freemasons Victoria and read my organisation direction regarding going green and see the photos for your perusal.

If successful I can help the council understand the maxim salus populi suprema lex which means the heath, welfare, good, salvation, felicity of the people should be the supreme law and priority of the local, state and federal government, and convince the trucks to go green, expenses wise nothing has changed except we are now using electric instead of petroleum.

Some people never change their political beliefs. They vote for the same party they’ve always voted for, which their parents and grandparents voted for, before them.

They don’t even need to know much about policies, values, principles or priorities. I remind you of this today because you don’t want to fall into an unusual rut.

You know there’s no harm in changing your opinions or your allegiances, specially if it is for the good of the majority of the constituents in the community.

So, if the time has come for me to fight the fight that needs fighting in this scenario I will just do it. You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something.

As imprinted indelibly in my heart the sacred dictates of truth, of honour and of virtue. There’s only one thing left to say, Ignorantia juris non excusat, meaning ignorance of the law excuses no one.

I’m no super man, I cannot promised you a rose garden but as someone famously said I shall pass this way but once, so any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. And I’ll do it with utmost diligence like a good father in the family.

It’s written in the galaxy of the stars that I have an appointment with history and a date with destiny, my response que sera sera, the dark clouds have silver linings, I’m just waiting for the din to settle.

Thanks for your cheerful and sincere assistance in giving me the opportunity to respond in my own words.

If we cannot be friends as yet then in Gods name let us not hate each other too much.

 

Simon Crawford

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?

  • The air pollution and the healthy impacts it has on our community
  • The safety issues associated with trucks going through residential streets, such as risks to cyclists and pedestrians.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes I have read the report and would be happy for Council to endorse the whole report and advocate for the implementation of its recommendations. I would also like to see the proposed low emission zone be expanded to cover the whole inner west. This would complement existing advocacy requests I have made such as banning trucks from Williamstown Road and having protected bike lanes built on State roads.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Local government’s role is predominantly advocacy to State Government and community education, however there are ways that councils can directly impact this situation through planning and permit controls.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I plan to work with local groups such as MTAG and Save Willy Road to keep the pressure on State Government to improve the situation in Maribyrnong, to reduce the number of trucks on the roads and improve our air quality, thus achieving better health and safety outcomes for the community.

 

Grace Girardi

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  Yes. I’m most concerned about:

  • the devastating health impacts and statistics showing that inner west residents and workers experience health problems associated with air pollution at a higher rate than the general Australian population
  • that monitoring and regulation of emissions could be strengthened
  • the impact that restricting access on some roads is likely to have on other roads following the opening of the WGT

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes, I have read the report

If successful, along with other Green’s Councillors, I’ll seek to have Maribyrnong City Council:

  • endorse the report at the first available Council meeting
  • improve the information in the Council Plan and Health and Wellbeing Plan in relation to air pollution impacts of trucks on residential streets
  • endorse a Councillor representative to participate in the IWAQCRG (the report indicates that the CRG expects the Victorian Government will retain the group to work on delivery)
  • invite the members of the CRG to address Council post report (Clare Sheppard and Narelle Wilson and any others from Maribyrnong)
  • develop a formal response to the report for the Maribyrnong community
  • advocate for the installation of infiltration on the WGT ventilation stacks, recommended by the Inquiry and Advisory Committee for the WGT, prior to the tunnel opening

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?

This is an issue that goes beyond just local government, however there’s a big role for the City of Maribyrnong to:

  • work as a key advocate for the community to state and federal governments; it should be a key ongoing advocacy issue
  • advocate for improved State and Federal government monitoring and regulation of air pollution especially in the inner west
  • support community action by groups like MTAG to bring the issue to the attention of the community and government
  • investigate planning scheme amendments or local policies that manage residential and commercial development on major transport corridors/routes (such as the Brisbane City Council example mentioned in the report)
  • work with neighbouring councils of Hobsons Bay and Brimbank to ensure a sub-regional approach to avoid shifting problems across council boundaries

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong? Most of the responsibility and control of truck movements lies with the state government. However, Council, acting on behalf of and in partnership with the community, can elevate the voice of the community through planned and consistent advocacy. There are many opportunities to advocate with other local government areas – Metropolitan Transport. The City of Maribyrnong could use this Forum to amplify the issue to state government.  Things I’ll work towards along with other Green’s Councillors are:

  • for Council to take a more active advocacy role on this issue and to work with MTAG and others to maintain a focus on the issues across the community and government
  • push for low emissions zones, and enforcement of these by relevant state agency/department
  • advocate for the fast tracking, and possible expansion, of the Port Rail Shuttle project (but also understanding that even with this project the expansion of the port will increase truck numbers)
  • see also responses to Q2 above

 

Jo Canny

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most? 

  • Yes, I’m concerned about the truck traffic. I’ve followed Mtag for a many years and attended protests.
  • It’s intimidating when you’re bike riding on the roads with trucks or in a car around such large vehicles, and walking
  • Reduces visibility for other road users and pedestrians
  • There are known health impacts on residents particularly children with particulate uptake and ingestion.
  • There is a reliance on old trucks (inefficient for long haul) being used causing even greater emissions.
  • Noisy and overall effect on the general community.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election? I read the summary and most of the 149pg report. I’d be interested to know if Mtag agrees with the report findings and is happy it covers and addresses all the key areas of concern.  It was alarming but not surprising.  The health effects have been spoken about for years, Europe is way ahead of us on it’s use of cleaner trucks.  There are a number of interesting actions, they don’t seem local gov related, however, MCC should support organisations like the EPA to set up and carry out testing. I particularly like the practical solution of the container park moving to the old fruit & veg/flower market opp the port to reduce trucks on our streets. Ensure planning of things like childcare centres take in to account the air quality.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?

I would engage with the container park operators and assist in finding relocation solutions. They don’t add any health benefits for residents. Council can use differential rates to identify ‘dirty/hazardous’ sites and rate them higher as an incentive to relocate. Philosophically this also compensates (albeit not nearly enough) the community for the inconvenience and health issues associated with trucks in our city.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  Generate solutions that contribute to cleaner air for residents and move trucks off our streets.  It is critical that councillors engage with local groups like MTag to really understand the issues.  I thank MTag for the dedication they have to the community over many years.

 

Miles Parnall-Gilbert

I hate trucks on our residential streets. It’s unsafe and unhealthy. I consider them one of the polluters of our local environment.

It is a topic close to my heart. In fact it was one of the early posts I did on my campaign page on the 15/16 September at www.facebook.com/milesforyarraville where I referenced the March report. It didn’t get a lot of views back then as I did not have the following I have amassed in the last 2 weeks. Any support you could give to my campaign would be greatly appreciated. As a new Independent the odds are stacked against me to get elected, just by the mere fact that 24,000 people don’t know who I am. I think if you follow my campaign you will see that I am a genuine hard worker and on the right side of the important issues. You can’t please everyone all the time on every issue, but to me there are some issues that are clear. Our basic right to a healthy environment is one of them.

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  I can’t narrow my concerns down to one thing. It’s the air pollution of diesel fumes and other carcinogens that’s giving our kids asthma, the dust, the noise, the damage to the roads, the terrifying experience as a pedestrian or a cyclist, the traffic congestion at peak hours, the fact that many truck drivers don’t understand the function of a speed bump, and the apparent lack of care regarding wing mirrors on parked cars.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes, I have read it. In fact, it is a problem I am passionate about and it was the subject of two of my early posts on my Facebook campaign page, where I tried to raise awareness amongst my followers. I’ll answer the rest of this question in section 4.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  I believe Local Government could play a larger role in reducing the impact of trucks on our roads. The City has roads that are controlled by State Government, which has a vested interest in making sure trucks have access to the Port for economic reasons. They are supposed to be taking “reasonable and practical measures” in the reformation of the State’s environment protection framework. I’m not sure how they define that. It saddens me that money takes precedence over the health of the community, particularly children who rely on us to protect them.

The City is also made up of roads that fall under the care of local Council. Curfews have certainly had an impact but the fact that many drivers choose to ignore the rules is a problem. I think we could do more. I would like to see the local council implement more effective methods of enforcing compliance, and be more forceful about representing the interests of locals at State Government level.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  A Councillor’s role is to advocate for the people. That is why is it so important that groups like MTAG exist. In addition to doing be best to make your concerns are put forward, I will also use all my influence to get Council to up their game on this most important issue.

I propose that on the roads where our Council has jurisdiction, we look at implementing a Registration plate reading camera system on routes that are of particular significance. We probably don’t have the power to interfere with trucks making their way to port. But I think it would be reasonable for our Council to collect a levy (a significant levy) using vehicle identification technology to help contribute to the damage they are doing to our local roads (the repair of which we fund as ratepayers). I think an initiative like that would help truck companies think twice about using local roads. There is absolutely room for improvement over what we have now.

 

No responses were received by the deadline from  Sara Coward,  Jeremie Nguyen, Toan Nguyen, Angela Burmeister, Paul Le, Matt Waller

 

Stony Creek Ward 

Andrew Charles

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  Yes I am very concerned. Diesel exhaust is highly toxic and has well known long term health effects. When I first moved into Yarraville I was part of protests to reduce truck traffic on Francis Street. I’m glad there is still a strong community campaign fighting for our right to clean air.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  I read the report and was shocked at just how stark the health effects of poor air quality in the inner West are. I was glad to see a well researched document with clear recommendations that can be used by residents who are campaigning for cleaner air.  I support the creation of a low-emissions zone, and would work with community groups to see this policy become reality. I would use my position as councillor to lobby for high quality air quality data to be publicly available – data is crucial to back up policy proposals. I will support community groups lobbying for pollution monitoring and reduction, and I will help put pressure on state government regulators to enforce emissions laws.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Council must advocate for truck curfews and bans on residential streets. It must consider the impact of planning applications on truck traffic -e.g. the location of container parks. Even where decisions are the responsibility of State government departments such as VicRoads, council must represent the local community by putting pressure on decision-makers to prioritise the health of residents. It must ensure that Council and residents groups are represented on committees making recommendations about truck traffic.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I will support the creation of low emissions zones which will ban dirty vehicles from residential streets.  I will amplify the voice of community groups who have been campaigning on the issue of trucks on residential streets for decades.  When considering planning applications I will consider whether they might increase truck traffic on residential streets, and reject applications with a negative impact on community health.  Cleaning up the local environment and taking action on climate change are connected – where-ever I can I will support investment to create green jobs to help us transition away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels.

 

Bernadette Thomas

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  Yes. I’m most concerned about:

  • the increasing number of trucks moving through the inner west each day and the impact on residents
  • the devastating health impacts and statistics showing that inner west residents and workers experience health problems associated with air pollution at a higher rate than the general Australian population
  • the impact that restricting access on some roads is likely to have on other roads following the opening of the WGT
  • lack of separation of trucks and residential activities.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election? Yes, I’ve read the entire report.  If successful I’ll seek to have Maribyrnong City Council:

  • endorse the report at the first available Council meeting
  • improve the information in the Council Plan and Health and Wellbeing Plan in relation to air pollution impacts of trucks on residential streets
  • endorse a Councillor representative to participate in the IWAQCRG (the report indicates that the CRG expects the Victorian Government will retain the group to work on delivery)
  • invite the members of the CRG to address Council post report (Clare Sheppard and Narelle Wilson and any others from Maribyrnong)
  • develop a formal response to the report for the Maribyrnong community
  • advocate for the installation of infiltration on the WGT ventilation stacks, recommended by the Inquiry and Advisory Committee for the WGT, prior to the tunnel opening

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  This is an issue that goes beyond just local government, however there’s a big role for the City of Maribyrnong to:

  • work as a key advocate for the community to state and federal governments; it should be a key ongoing advocacy issue
  • support community action by groups like MTAG to bring the issue to the attention of the community and government
  • investigate planning scheme amendments or local policies that manage residential and commercial development on major transport corridors/routes (such as the Brisbane City Council example mentioned in the report)
  • work with neighbouring councils of Hobsons Bay and Brimbank to ensure a sub-regional approach to avoid shifting problems across council boundaries

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong? Most of the responsibility and control of truck movements lies with the state government. However, Council, acting on behalf of and in partnership with the community, can elevate the voice of the community through planned and consistent advocacy. There are many opportunities to advocate with other local government areas – for example Metropolitan Transport Forum (a quick check of the meeting agendas for 2019 shows that truck impacts were not listed on either meeting agendas or as an advocacy issue). The City of Maribyrnong could use this Forum to amplify the issue to state government.  Things I’ll work towards are:

  • for Council to take a more active advocacy role on this issue and to work with MTAG and others to maintain a focus on the issues across the community and government
  • push for low emissions zones, and enforcement of these by relevant state agency/department
  • advocate for the fast tracking, and possible expansion, of the Port Rail Shuttle project (but also understanding that even with this project the expansion of the port will increase truck numbers)
  • see also responses to Q2 above

 

Ken Betts

As you know, i have supported your campaign since the inception attending all of your public protests and meetings etc  My history scorecard of support is, I believe on record … Howevever, once again, I confirm here my total support and ditto positive to all your questions.  Finally, if voted in as a truly Independent candidate, I will support your cause 100 percent as a 3rd generation born. & raised proud Footscray boy who cares about the future for my 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren

 

Megan Bridger-Darling

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  I am very concerned about the track traffic now and what’s forecast with our growing city.  The combination of ageing infrastructure and ageing vehicles that do not comply with standards mandated of new vehicles.  While MCC does not have oversight on the vehicles or the truck roads (VicRoads, typically used), the role of advocacy is vital.  There are so many instances of State Govt surprising council and residents with new rules and plans that are not good for our community.  Continued vocal advocacy is needed.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  I would like to see the increased investment of public transport in the west. I think through complimentary infrastructure investment from MCC that would encourage patronage, that this will be a game-changer.  Most bus stops in WeFo don’t have seats or shelter, disability access remains a barrier to take up and are relatively easy to fix, but will take a joint state and council approach. I would like to see the whole report adopted at Maribyrnong Council and will work to have that as an appendix to our current plans and the incorporation of all recommendations whether they are council responsibility or not.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Unfortunately, it’s primarily an advocacy role.  Decisions that affect our residents, mostly poor outcomes, are made without council input and a way to put council at that table needs to be found.  I think there is capacity to raise standards of the companies that are homed in our city though.  Incentives can be established for good, clean practices and companies that not only meet the minimum requirements but exceed them. We could be leaders in this area, but will take more than just my seat in the chamber to make happen.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I have been involved with the Inland Rail proposals and very keen to see the establishment of best practice for the first and last mile.  We have the biggest port terminal in the southern hemisphere, and every container needs to go somewhere.  The establishment of an intermodal station somewhere in Melbourne’s west is vital to getting the trucks out of residential streets in MCC and is something I continue to badger the Council CEO about, and my interest both precedes and will continue my time on MCC.

For candidates that are serving or have already served as Councillors in Maribyrnong, what action – if any – have you taken to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong during your last council term?  There have been a number of issues that I have been involved with, not limited to the relocation of the monitoring station to Bassett Reserve (closer to Geelong road), the speed reduction of Francis Street to 50km, speaking with many folks from the save Willy Road campaign and extensive consultation on the proposed tunnel freight paths, and Paramount road re-routing.  I’ve been a councillor for just over a year, and I’ve been involved in protests and petition signing and writing letters to council prior to that.

No responses were received by the deadline from Minh Nguyen, Rajdeep Kang, Eddie Merrifield, Pradeep Tiwari, Judy Hang, Mohamed Semra, Cameron Bolton 

Unable to make contact via email address provided for Cuc Lam.

 

River Ward

Chay Granger

Here are my thoughts below. Did State Govt ever give an explanation for dropping some of the key points of the Smart Freight Initiative as it’s not mentioned in any press releases?

As a resident who lives close to Moore St and Ballarat rd i’m well aware of the concerns residents have about increased truck traffic, noise and air pollution, and risk factors with large vehicles in residential areas. I have stood waiting at the intersection of Moore St and Ballarat Rd many times with pram in hand as a B double semi-trailer turned and accidently cut across to mount the footpath, sometimes 1.5 m inside the footpath. As of today I am glad to note that VicRoads has finally started enforcing some of the curfew and noise restrictions in the last few weeks along this stretch, however it has been a long time coming, and it’s not clear how long this enforcement will last. I hope once the election is over VicRoads will continue enforcement. For many years we have had air brakes going off without consequence.

There are ongoing concerns with Williamstown Rd, and significantly the effect the Western Distributor will have there. It is currently a very poor situation on Williamstown Rd as most residents there will attest with long truck ques banking up the road, and the Save Willy Rd campaign is heating up and I expect will gain more momentum.

It was very disappointing to see the well intentioned agreement between MTAG and the VTA Truckers association sunk by the state government transport department without explanation in 2020. At the very least the community deserve an explanation, as this is exactly the type of agreement that communities invest in and deserve. Mature and respectful negotiations will be the key to fixing these issues, and the state government needs to better support these processes. As I understand, the council was party to the negotiations between MTAG and VTA, and I will continue to strongly support these kind of initiatives as a Maribrnong councillor, especially where respectful negotiations deliver positive outcomes for diverse community interests. The Smart Freight Initiative is an exemplar of healthy community action.

 

Matt McCaul

I support all of your initiatives to remove trucks from local streets. But as you would know the local streets you speak of are owned by VicRoads and I would need to liaise with Katie Hall at state government.

I use this to find roads that I can affect through council and roads that I need to liaise with state government: https://vicroadsmaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=e8fa54687853433eb58e51584b36f681

 

Yvonne Gu

Thanks for your email and the great work you are doing to clean up the air that we are breathing.

I fully understand the importance of clean air to people’s health, especially those vulnerable members of our community.  As a mother of a child with asthma, I personally feel it!

I have had a quick read of the Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West report which painted an alarming picture of the air condition of our community.  There are short-term and longer term strategies to be taken to tackle this problem.  If elected, I’ll advocate for immediate actions to provide genuine relief such as mandating newer/cleaner trucks be used in our suburbs.  Over the longer term, the Council needs to work with State and Commonwealth governments, Port of Melbourne etc to develop and enforce policies to minimise air pollution in our area.

In short, I offer my full support to the great work you are doing, together we shall aim to build much cleaner suburbs with fresh air!

 

Liz Walsh

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  Yes. What concerns me most is the terrible impact that the high amount of particulate matter in our air from trucks has on our health. The hospitalisation rate and premature mortality in the inner West from heart failure, lung cancer, asthma and other respiratory issues speak for themselves. It’s unacceptable that we have a 60 percent higher hospitalisation rate for heart failure and 40 percent higher for asthma. Noise pollution, which impacts on the wellbeing of residents, is also concerning, especially now that we are spending a lot more time at home.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes I have read the report and I agree it is incredibly alarming. I support the implementation of the recommendations in the report by the Inner West Air Quality Community Reference Group. I’m particularly interested in pushing for the implementation of low emissions zones around schools, kindergartens and childcare facilities. I’ve already included this as one of my key issues in my campaign material. We also need nationally legislated stronger vehicle emission standards to get old trucks off the roads, improved monitoring of air pollution in the area by placing monitoring stations near residential major roads and the planting of urban forests/greater tree canopy to improve air quality.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Council has an important role to play in making sure this report is acted on. We need people on council that will make a fuss until we get results, which is something that me and the whole Victorian Socialists team are prepared to do. We will also move quickly to implement what we can at a local council level while also strongly advocating, in alliance with community groups who already have form on this issue, for our community to the State and Federal governments as well as environmental regulators, like the EPA. I also think local councillors should encourage residents to participate in community campaigns because collectively we are stronger.

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I will help to give voice to community concerns over trucks on residential streets. Community groups have been campaigning about this issue for many years and deserve to be supported and recognised for their important work. I will support the introduction of low emissions zones and immediately move to compile the necessary information to decide where and when these low emissions zones should be in place. I will be a part of advocacy work to pressure all levels of government and governmental agencies to take action. I will support campaigns for increased rail freight as opposed to reliance on trucks for circulation of goods in our economy.

 

Toa Thredgold

Are you concerned about truck traffic in Melbourne’s inner west and if so, what concerns you the most?  The air Pollution is one of my biggest concerns as well as the risks to local traffic, whether that be bicyclists, pedestrians or motorists. I myself have seen many near misses and the levels of pollution are just not acceptable to the health and well being of our people.

The recently released report ‘Air Pollution in Melbourne’s Inner West’ paints an alarming picture of the health impacts of air pollution in our community. Have you read the report and what action do you plan on taking if successful at the election?  Yes I have read the report and I think the council should endorse the whole report and implement all recommendations.

What role do you think local government has in reducing the impact of trucks on the City of Maribyrnong?  Working with and advocating state government to create safer and cleaner roads, as well as using planning and permit controls to minimise risks to the wider community

What action do you plan to take in your role as Councillor – if any – to reduce trucks on residential streets in Maribyrnong?  I would love to consult closely with MTAG members as well as other community groups to create the best outcomes for Maribyrnong residents, listen to their ideas and communicate to the wider community.

 

No responses were received by the deadline from Sarah Carter, Huy Nguyen, Machi La, Anthony Tran, Thuy-Kim Le, Susan Yengi

No email address provided and no response received to request for email address sent via Go Fund Me page for Andrew Tran

No contact details provided for Duncan Foster

Responses are grouped by ward and appear in the order in which they were received.

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