NSW lifts truck curfew


NSW scraps curfew on heavy vehicles carting coal to Port Kembla, but imposes conditions on trucking operators

The NSW Government has scrapped a curfew on heavy vehicles carting coal to Port Kembla, but has imposed a set of conditions on trucking operators.

Trucks will now be free to travel 24 hours a day to the port’s coal terminal after NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally ended a 26-year restriction limiting coal deliveries between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

The Government will allow 7.5 million tonnes of coal to be carried annually in return for trucking companies implementing a code of conduct.

"The code includes measures to manage speed limits, compression braking, load covering and queuing on local roads, and provides for incident management , reporting and compliance monitoring," Keneally says.

"There will also be measures to ensure the code is enforced, which will ensure the haulage of coal by road in Illawarra is done in a safe, manageable and considerate manner."

There are plans to expand the level of annual coal movements to 10 tonnes "over time", with Keneally saying the new delivery hours bring the terminal into line with other industries and account for an increase in demand.

But the Government faced a backlash from the community over its decision, with the majority of Illawarra residents opposing any moves to scrap travelling restrictions.

The Greens claim the decision will result in "more accidents, deaths and health problems from noise and air pollution" and have accused the Government of putting the interests of coal ahead of residents.

Keneally defended the move, saying there is no reason to suggest trucks will overrun local roads.

"The increased truck movements will be spread across a greater period generally resulting in fewer trucks on the road at any one time, especially during the morning and afternoon periods," she says.

Furthermore, Keneally says transport infrastructure has evolved since the curfew was imposed in 1982 in the aftermath of heavy vehicle accidents.

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon wants the decision independently evaluated in 12 months to ensure all parties are complying with code of conduct requirements and residents are not being unduly affected.

"People need to sleep and enjoy a silent Sunday. Noisy, polluting coal trucks will rob them of this basic right to some peace and quiet," Rhiannon says.

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