Napthine Protects Own Patch And Neglects The West
Ports Minister Denis Napthine has failed to deliver important freight connections for Melbourne’s inner-west despite committing to fund a $500,000 pedestrian overpass in his own electorate, Shadow Minister for Freight and Logistics Tim Pallas said.
Mr Pallas said the Baillieu Government cited truck movements, community concerns and safety issues as reasons why it was funding the Portland overpass, but refused to show the same concern for Melbourne’s inner west residents.
“The Baillieu Government is showing no regard for the residents of Melbourne’s inner west,” Mr Pallas said.
“While addressing the concerns of Portland residents is important, Mr Napthine has not explained why it is more important than reducing truck movements away from suburban streets in Melbourne’s west.
“The Baillieu Government has failed to commit to the Truck Action Plan and has stalled its $40 million first stage of works, nonetheless it wants to introduce bigger and longer trucks on inner western suburbs roads 24 hours a day. These roads in the west cater for almost 50 times more truck movements than Portland.”
Mr Pallas said if implemented, the Truck Action Plan (stage 1) would remove 1 million trucks a year from Yarraville and surrounding suburbs.
“In Opposition, Mr Napthine made it clear that he didn’t support the use of larger trucks until investment in the road network was implemented,” he said. “Disappointingly, a VicRoads officer told a freight conference in September that, Melbourne located freight network ‘infrastructure upgrades are unlikely over the short to medium term’.
“But just last week Victorians learnt of the Government’s secret plan to roll out what they described in opposition as “super monster trucks” throughout Melbourne’s suburbs.
“Mr Napthine’s “super monster trucks” will run through Melbourne communities at all hours of the day and night without many of the restrictions put in place by the previous Labor Government and without community engagement or a public review of the outcomes of Labor’s trial.
“It appears Mr Napthine has pushed through a project in his own backyard, while families in Melbourne’s west get bigger and longer trucks more often. Mr Napthine should demonstrate the same concern for residents of the inner west as he has for those in his electorate by delivering the Truck Action Plan.
As Mr Napthine said on 9 June 2009, “These trucks will create a real danger on our roads. It’s time the minister put these plans on ice until the roads are upgraded,” (Hansard).
“It is gross hypocrisy that the Minister, now in Government, refuses to invest in on-road infrastructure but supports an expansion of the big truck roll out for Melbourne’s west.”