2022 Victorian State Election – a truck action perspective

November 13, 2022

 

It is almost State election time here in Victoria. To help you make an informed vote MTAG has contacted candidates who are running in the inner west to see what they are promising in regard to the truck issue.

As any resident or visitor to the City of Maribyrnong knows, trucks are a contentious issue here with well over 8 million truck movements taking place on residential streets each year.

Many promises have been made to our community over the past 20 years in terms of action to minimise the trucks, however many have never eventuated.

Currently there are some great promises on the table from the Andrew’s government with the promised West Gate Tunnel Project 24/7 truck bans on most of the existing freight routes – with the exception of Williamstown and Millers Roads. (These roads will actually experience an increase in truck numbers.) The current Labor government is also heavily investing in freight rail infrastructure that promises to reduce truck numbers.

We have heard other promises in the past with the now defunct Andrew’s government Western Distributor plans (replaced by the WGTP) and previous freight on rail promises from the Steve Bracks’ government that never eventuated. The brief Liberal Napthine Government promised us that their East West Freeway Link, in the northern suburbs, would be our truck solution here in the west. How that could achieve change here was never explained.

For this election, MTAG sent out an 8 point action list, which has broad community and expert support, to all candidates. We asked if they either ‘support’, ‘do not support’ or ‘support conditionally’ each of the action points. We also gave candidates an opportunity to provide a 200 word statement on the issue of trucks, air quality and any action they plan to take if successful at the election.

The Greens, Socialists and Labor provided a joint statement of behalf of all their candidates.

We did not receive any response, by the deadline requested, from the following:

  • Catherine Cumming
  • The United Party
  • Liberal Democrats
  • New Democrats
  • Labor DLP

Here is our policy score card. You will see that some candidate/parties candidates ignored our action list but did provide a statement instead. These are listed below the table.

 Sustainable Australia PartyThe GreensLabor PartyThe SocialistsLiberal Party
Installation of filtration in the West Gate Tunnel ventilation stacks prior to the tunnel opening to protect the surrounding residential population from excessive and potentially dangerous PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 emissions.

YES (2.)

Support conditionally (1.)

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Introduction of a night and weekend truck curfew on Williamstown Road to give residents respite from ever increasing truck numbers.

YES (2.)

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Require identifying signage on trucks using Moore Street for easier enforcement and so that the community can see if they have a curfew exemption.

YES (2.)

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Introduction of a Low Emission Zone in Melbourne’s inner west where air quality is known to be consistently poor.

YES (2.)

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Expedite the Western Intermodal Freight Terminal at Truganina to reduce trucks on suburban roads.

YES (2.)

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Changes to State planning legislation to require ‘sensitive use’ facilities, including schools, childcare and aged care, to be located a minimal distance from high volume truck routes.

YES

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Update Victoria's air pollution standards for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide to match those of the World Health Organisation.

YES

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

Update of the State Government’s Traffic Noise Reduction Policy based on the review undertaken in 2016.

YES

YES

No response, but statement provided

YES

No response, but statement provided

(1.) The Greens support filtration where there is modelling or other evidence that the filtration will make a measurable difference to local pollution.

(2.) Bert Jessup, Upper House candidate for Western Metropolitan Region provided the following comments to our action list –

  • The stacks provide an opportunity to capture and filtrate emissions. It makes sense to seize this opportunity.  If elected, I will support the installation of filtration to mitigate the air quality impact of the West Gate Tunnel Project on the residential population.   It’s only fair that residents get some respite. If elected, I will support this initiative. SAP’s Transport policy includes: ” Upgrade Australia’s freight rail infrastructure to boost national productivity and remove truck journeys from our roads.
  • The residents of Moore Street have lived with heavy transport movements for more than 50 years.  The residents deserve the respite the curfew offers; however, the curfew is of little value if it is not enforced.  If elected, I will support the introduction of identifying signage to enhance enforcement and to provide assurance to residents the requirement for exemptions is not being ignored or flaunted.
  • If elected, I will support all initiatives to improve air quality in Melbourne’s inner west, including a Low Emission Zone.
  • If elected, I will support expediting the Western Freight Terminal at Truganina to reduce and better manage truck movements in residential areas.  I will also support initiatives to substitute rail for trucking movements.
  • Sustainable Australia Party policies on  Environment, Planning and Development and Transport can be read here

 

APPENDUM:

The Animal Justice Party contacted us almost immediately after we published this page apologising for missing the deadline. They support all of our listed actions with the exception of  ‘Update of the State Government’s Traffic Noise Reduction Policy based on the review undertaken in 2016.’ which they ‘support conditionally’ with the following comment: Dependent on the outcome of the 2016 review and any other reviews given that the management of road traffic noise in Victoria is generally excluded from specific ‘regulation/legislation’.

 

Here are the statements we received:

Melissa Horne MP – Labor Party – Labor knows the importance of tackling air quality in the inner west. And now we’ve developed the Clean Air Strategy for all Victorians to improve air quality, investing $2.8 million for projects including:

  • Air quality improvement precincts in the inner and outer west of Melbourne;
  • Green wall trials of densely planted vegetation to buffer pollution;
  • Grants for industries in the inner west to reduce emissions.

Trucks will be banned on six key routes when the Westgate Tunnel is complete.

In the meantime, to reduce air pollution from the older trucks doing short haul runs between Brooklyn/Tottenham and the Port of Melbourne, Labor will:

  • Get the oldest, most polluting trucks off our streets through a $15m grants program replacing older vehicles;
  • Invest $5m for local councils to seal more roads in the inner west, reducing dust pollution.

And we’re already:

  • Helping industry relocate to where they have better access to the port through suitable road networks;
  • Trialling two hydrogen and 50 electric buses on 15 school services and 26 routes in the inner west;
  • Taking trucks of local roads by delivering the Port Rail Shuttle Network – freight trains are now running between Altona and the Port;
  • Fast tracking our transition to a clean energy future targeting net zero emissions by 2045.

 

Moira Deeming – Liberal Party – I hope you’ll appreciate that I’m not allowed to make policy announcements or anything approaching it, as a candidate.

However, I will say that anything that improves the woeful safety measures and pollution issues from our infrastructure projects is something I am already personally and professionally, very deeply interested in improving.

So, what I can say genuinely to you, is that any and all improvements are on the table for me. I’ll research any idea with an open mind, with the view to giving it my full support if it helps achieve more environmentally friendly and healthy outcomes for our residents and workers.

 

Bert Jessup – Sustainable Australia Party – Residents of the inner west desperately need immediate relief from the impact of truck movements.  If elected, I will support all reasonable initiatives to eliminate heavy truck movements from residential streets, enhance road safety, reduce congestion, calm traffic and improve air quality.  I will also champion long-term investment and a paradigm shift to move heavy freight from road on to rail.  Currently over 95% of freight movements from the Port of Melbourne are by truck.  This has to change!  The intermodal Truganina freight terminal promises to be the start of a better way to move freight.  If elected, I will support expediting the development of the internodal freight terminal. The Sustainable Australia Party’s overriding environmental policy recognises: “that a healthy natural environment is the foundation upon which all human wellbeing and prosperity is built …”

 

Catherine Robertson, Jorga Jorquera and Liz Walsh – Victorian Socialists – We strongly believe that vehicle emissions need to be drastically reduced in order to improve air quality. In the working-class suburbs of the west and north particularly, trucks contribute significantly to both air pollution and traffic congestion.

All our transport systems must be environmentally sustainable. New investment must prioritise low- and zero-emission, energy-efficient, affordable modes of transport, including electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Fossil fuel-reliant vehicles, freight and traffic should be phased out as quickly as possible without causing disadvantage to working-class people.

Looking to the future, it’s vital to evaluate the likely health and environmental effects of all major transport infrastructure projects in the planning stages, with any identified negative effects to be considered in assessing the suitability of the project.

We will argue for these measures and strongly support any local community campaigns on these issues.

 

The Greens provided their Transport, Emissions and Pollution policy statement –

 

Comments are closed here.