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Prime Mover Magazine

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Peter Anderson

Industry must be its own greatest cheerleader

August 2017

As the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) prepares for its annual Australian Freight Industry Awards, which celebrate the many positive contributions of our industry to the community, there is much unwanted sentiment about trucks and transport swirling around which needs to be confronted.

As this issue of Prime Mover goes to print, numerous Victorian infrastructure projects in various stages of planning and construction have generated recent discussion about heavy-vehicle movements in our communities.
The Metro Rail project, which will see the construction of twin nine-kilometre tunnels through the heart of Melbourne, is being built by the Andrews Government. It is a massive $11 billion project that will increase capacity on the city’s commuter rail network, in turn easing congestion on road networks and making them more productive for freight operators.

The Level Crossing Removal program, another multibillion-dollar infrastructure project, is removing 50 of the state’s busiest and most dangerous level crossings, making roads less congested and a more productive place to be. The project involves a combination of trenching and rail or road overpasses, themselves the subject of much controversy.

The West Gate Tunnel being built by Transurban will provide a new and more efficient connection to the Port of Melbourne, and a long overdue second river crossing which will alleviate pressure on the West Gate Bridge. The project will create Victoria’s longest tunnels and provide another option for heavy vehicles to get in and out of the port area.

Works are continuing on the CityLink Tullamarine Widening project, which will increase capacity on this major piece of road infrastructure and reduce travel times for motorists coming in and out of Melbourne.
The business case is also being prepared for the North East Link, which will finally complete the M80 Ring Road. While the road’s alignment has yet to be confirmed, the project will more likely than not involve tunnels of some description.

Productivity improvements and efficiency gains for operators are all things these projects have in common, which is welcome news for an industry already under enormous pressure to reduce costs and improve performance.

Another thing they have in common is they each require massive earthworks and soil removal, which has been the subject of recent public debate.

Soil removal for the Metro Rail project alone is estimated to create an additional 438,000 heavy-vehicle movements through the city over four years, which translates on average to an extra truck per minute.
This has prompted criticism from resident groups in areas where the new underground tunnels and stations will be excavated. Of course, the irony is that the most vocal criticism of truck movements tends to come from groups that will benefit most from the project being delivered.

This kind of sentiment is not unique to Victoria, and no doubt other major centres around Australia where there is disruption due to infrastructure construction are experiencing similar backlash.
This underscores the importance of the transport industry – with the support of state governments – proactively celebrating and highlighting the many contributions we make to communities and the economy, and reinforcing that without the industry nothing would ever get built.

The industry will work with residents and communities to minimise disruption where we can, but it’s important to make them aware of all the positive things transport operators do to improve the living standards we all enjoy.
So, it’s important that operators showcase their strengths and achievements by telling people about it.

Industry awards are a great way of creating awareness of our industry’s many positive contributions, and I encourage you to submit an entry into this year’s Australian Freight Industry Awards.
Six awards are being contested this year, with members and others in the industry encouraged to nominate for one or more award categories including Investment in People, Best Practice Safety, Application of Technology, Waste & Recycling, Young Achiever of the Year and Personality of the Year.

Winners and finalists will be announced at the Australian Freight Industry Awards presentation celebration on Saturday, 2 September, at the Palladium Ballroom at Crown.

To nominate for an award and book tickets to the presentation celebration, which will feature some of Australia’s hottest acts, contact the VTA on 03 9646 8590 or visit

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