MTAG recently made a submission and presentation to Maribynong councillors as part of the 2022-23 budget process to call for Council to appoint an Air Quality Advocacy and Action Executive Officer. A role like this does not currently exist within the organisation. Unfortunately the idea was rejected by the councillors.
Council has said that work on air quality is led by an Environment team who are part of a recently formed Planning and Environment Directorate. Apparently this team will continue to lead and coordinate Council’s response to air quality issues, including advocacy. In MTAG’s experience, Council staff working on air quality have many responsibilities and competing priorities, and are unable to dedicate the resources needed to address the terrible problem of poor air quality and associated serious adverse health effects that our community faces every day.
As we all know, diesel exhaust from the estimated at 34,000 trucks per day traversing our city is now ubiquitous in our local environment and contributes significantly to the toxic load in the air we breathe. Council is reliant on other levels of government to affect real change to improve our air quality and MTAG is concerned that the new team will be under resourced and lack the expertise needed to advocate effectively and influence other levels of government to invest in actions to improve our air quality. MTAG thinks that would have been a significant strategic investment for this community, with the potential to leverage investment by others, such as the recent State Government investment of $350,000 to be spent on traffic management cameras to monitor truck movements and identify problem areas.
It is unfortunate that the Councillors disagree and have not leapt at the opportunity to be a leader amongst Councils in Victoria and Australia in advocating for clean air.
Read our budget submission here – MTAG_2022-23_budget_proposal
Watch our presentation to councillors at the Hearing of Budget Submissions here