The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has referred to calls for a permanent truck ban in Melbourne’s bayside areas as a political ‘slippery slope’.
According to the VTA, calls from activist groups such as ‘Truck Off’ to permanently ban heavy vehicles on Beach Road and Beaconsfield Parade are opportunistic.
The calls follow VicRoads’ trial extension of curfews to include 6am-1pm on Saturdays, adding to curfews already in place on Beach Road from 8pm to 6am Monday to Saturday, and from 1pm Saturday to 6am Monday. Trucks making local deliveries will be exempt.
“The Victorian Transport Association advocated against the curfew extension, which appears to have been at the behest of Albert Park Labor MP Martin Foley, responding to pressure from minority local interest and an anti-truck group that has threatened to run an independent candidate against him at the next election,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“With extended curfew trials set to commence, there are already calls for permanent bans before any evidence from the trial has even been unearthed. This is the slippery-slope the government must resist that sees the industry making concession after concession, with nothing offered in exchange.
“Lazy decisions like this pander to activists and minority local interest and pits the industry against the community, setting back years of progress and compromise we have made with resident groups and local government stakeholders elsewhere.
“The decision-making in bayside suburbs starkly contrasts with the government’s approach to heavy vehicle restrictions on roads in the inner west of Melbourne after the West Gate Tunnel is built. Those restrictions at least contain productivity improvements for industry in the form of mandatory pricing incentives from the toll road’s future operator,” Mr. Anderson said.
The VTA said it will continue to work with state and local governments, VicRoads and local communities on road-sharing solutions that encourage greater harmony and balance from all users.
“Often lost in debates like this is that a heavy vehicle is someone’s workplace, and applying a curfew to a road is akin to banning or restricting one from working,” Mr. Anderson said.