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Industry in talks with councils over ‘last mile’ issues

Industry to address forum of Municipal Association of Victoria to lobby for road access for high performance vehicles

By Samantha Freestone

A forum will be held by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) this month to “agree on a united local government position” regarding road access for high performance vehicles.

The forum will follow the release of a paper prepared by the Association on the issue, to be launched by Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas on the day.

It will update councils on the latest information in relation to high performance vehicles, or HPVs, their relevance to state and federal transport strategies and the issues around local road access, infrastructure and mass limits.

Speakers from industry associations and operators will talk at the event in the hope of raising awareness, demystifying the realities of freight transport and to shed light on the practical concerns raised by operators such as freight flow.

Ian Wright, a transport compliance consultant, will speak on the day. He says while infrastructure is a big issue, more pressing is the need for operators to simply move their freight from point A to point B.

These issues need to be “explained in laymen’s terms” to councilors, who do not always fully understand the logistic necessities of operators, he says.

“Let us get to Dandenong. At the moment [they] haven’t even told [us we] can get freight there,” Wright says.

Paul Hennessey, who heads-up the MAV Truck Impact Working Group behind the forum, has reportedly convinced all councils bar two to agree that “as long as HPVs are route specific, adhere to performance-based standards and don’t exceed mass limits” they will allow HPVs onto their road systems.

A spokesperson from the MAV says the forum is “in the context of the Victorian Transport Plan”.

“Once a sector-wide position has been agreed by local government, the MAV will make a funding bid to state and federal governments,” the spokesperson says.

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