Transport Minister Anthony Albanese’s new national freight plan has opened the door to b-triple trucks on the Hume Highway and key roads to ports and rail terminals, risking more accidents and deaths and sidestepping the urgent environmental need for a freight strategy concentrated on rail, says Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.
“This trial of b-triples, up to 40 metres long or six times the family car, will see a further shift in transport modes from sea and rail to road, resulting in more wear and tear on our roads, injuries and deaths and noise and air pollution,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Research shows that although articulated trucks account for three per cent of all vehicle kilometres, they are involved in approximately one road fatality in ten. Most deaths occur on roads where the speed limit exceeds 80km per hour such as the Hume Highway.
“Minister Albanese likes to wear a sustainability transport hat but his heart is with the trucking industry, which has been quick to show its delight at this new plan.
“These b-triple trucks, which have three trailers, are dubbed ‘high productivity vehicles’ in the freight plan. This cannot mask the risks the vehicles pose for families and other motorists travelling alongside them on the Hume Highway and other roads across Australia.
“Too little attention has been placed in this plan on improving rail freight productivity. There has been past underinvestment in rail over decades and the government has failed to address the backlog.
“Upgrading and building new rail freight infrastructure is the key to future proofing Australia from climate change and peak oil,” Senator Rhiannon said.