Statement made in parliament by Colleen Hartland
This morning I joined Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG), No More Trucks for Moore Street and other residents of the inner west to blockade Shepherd Bridge in Footscray. The reason MTAG and No More Trucks for Moore Street called the blockade and the reason I supported the action is that the government has completely ignored the health and noise issues that have come about by having 21 000 trucks going through the inner west communities every day. We were reminded during question time today, by the Minister for Health’s inaction on diesel issues, that the government is not concerned about the health of residents in the inner west.
Question in parliament to the Minister for Health by Colleen Hartland
My question is also for the Minister for Health. On 19 June 2012 in a response to my question without notice regarding the World Health Organisation diesel pollution report and the need for a health impact assessment, the minister said:
I too saw that report, and I have sought some information. I have not made any decision at this point to take the action that she indicates in terms of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, but I did see the report and will respond in due course.
I asked this question of the minister eight months ago, and I would have thought that was long enough to consider this issue. I would now like to ask again: will the minister give an undertaking to do a health impact assessment on the effects of diesel?
Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Metropolitan Region, will be joining local residents on Tuesday the 19th of March as they blockade Shepherd's Bridge to raise awareness of the need for a truck bypass to get loud and dangerous trucks off residential streets. Colleen is inviting all residents of the inner west who are concerned about the health and safety of their suburbs to join her and other local residents at Shepherd's Bridge at 8:00am on Tuesday morning. We need to show the State Government that enough is enough and that we want a truck bypass built now.
The World Health Organization has declared diesel exhaust a carcinogen, and yet every day thousands of trucks are pumping diesel pollution all over the West's schools, homes and parks causing harm to our communities - Maribyrnong has the highest admissions for respiratory illness in the state.
An attempt by The Greens to reveal the impacts and cost of a projected doubling of truck numbers on Melbourne’s streets has been shut down by the Baillieu government.
“The Baillieu government has refused an Inquiry which would reveal the true impacts and costs of the projected doubling of trucks on Melbourne’s streets. What are they afraid will be uncovered?" said Greens MP for the Western Suburbs Colleen Hartland.
"This act by the government shows that trucking giants and port industry profits are dictating policy, to the exclusion of community health and easing the pain of traffic congestion."
SPEECH: Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan)—I move:
That this house requires the Economy and Infrastructure References Committee to inquire into:
1. Consider and report no later than 20 August 2013 on the impact of freight trucks on Melbourne, including crashes, road damage and costs, air pollution (including health impacts), traffic congestion and
2. alternatives for moving the growing freight task.
More than 21 000 trucks rumble through the inner west neighbourhoods every single day. Francis Street alone has 7000 trucks per day travelling past residents’ front doors as well as child-care centres and community centres—and it is a stone’s throw away from a primary school. People live, play, sleep and breathe the air in these neighbourhoods. The streets are clogged and dangerous; noise and vibrations keep people awake at night; and residents breathe in diesel pollution that is carcinogenic and causes poor respiratory health.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland will move a motion in parliament today for an Inquiry into the impact and cost of truck traffic on our community and to identify solutions*.
"Truck traffic in the inner West continues to increase and is expected to double by 2025. Despite this growing truck problem, we've seen no action from the Baillieu government in their 27 months. They have failed to come up with a freight strategy or a rail freight target, and the shovel-ready Westgate Ramps truck bypass remains 'under review'," said Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Suburbs.
"On each and every one of these 800 days of Ted Baillieu's inaction residents have endured streets choked with trucks, being kept awake at night, and constant exposure to carcinogenic diesel pollution which also harms our kids respiratory health."
Greens MP Colleen Hartland has called on the government to act immediately to address excessive truck noise as report made public this week reveals noise levels greater than that which trigger the construction of freeway noise barriers.
"It's impractical and undesirable to build freeway sound barriers along inner West residential streets, so the alternative is to get the trucks off our streets" said Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Suburbs.
A noise study by SLR Global Environmental Solutions and commissioned by the Maribyrnong City council has looked at road and rail noise in Footscray. It found that: existing traffic noise levels exceed the highest acceptable level by between 1dBA and 5dBA. Were these properties to be situated beside a VicRoads controlled freeway, then the barrier retrofitting program would be initiated*.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland will call for an inquiry to investigate the impact freight trucks are having on Melbourne and look at alternatives for moving the increasing volumes of freight.
"We've had a horror few weeks for truck crashes ranging from fatal crashes to those that cause serious commuter traffic havoc " said Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Suburbs.
"Information The Greens obtained under Freedom of Information laws has revealed that truck numbers on our streets are projected to more than double from 290,000 current trips per day to 690,000 trips per day - that's four times as many trucks on our streets as there are cars on the Monash-City Link-West Gate Corridor every single day*.