Pal­las says truck­ing’s not pay­ing its way

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VIC­TO­RIAN TREA­SURER Tim Pal­las has re­jected the truck­ing in­dus­try’s po­si­tion that it over­com­pen­sates for the use and build­ing of road infrastructure.

The as­ser­tion comes as Lind­say Fox and Pal­las have taken to main­stream me­dia over the state gov­ern­ment’s truck-cen­tric tolling strat­egy.

In an on­go­ing ar­gu­ment over toll in­creases of up to 125 per cent on Mel­bourne’s Transur­ban-run Ci­tyLink route, Lin­fox founder Fox ar­gues “res­i­den­tial streets should re­main res­i­den­tial” and not be sub­ject to truck traf­fic, but this must be sup­ported by up­grades to Vic­to­rian infrastructure.

“If the roads are work­ing prop­erly and the infrastructure is right, then you shouldn’t have trucks in res­i­den­tial ar­eas,” Fox says.

“Ci­tyLink wants us to pay when the road isn’t com­plete and our pro­duc­tiv­ity is down by 20 per cent. That’s putting the cart be­fore the horse.

“We’re at least 20 per cent slower to­day on Ci­tyLink.

“Why should we pay for a road that’s not go­ing to be com­plete for 12 months?”

The Ci­tyLink in­crease is at­trib­uted to the cost of the $1.28 bil­lion Ci­tyLink/Tul­la­ma­rine Free­way widen­ing project.

The Ci­tyLink Tulla Widen­ing project is due for com­ple­tion on an undis­closed date in 2018.

The new at­tack brought state trea­surer Pal­las, a for­mer roads min­is­ter, on to Neil Mitchell’s 3AW talk­back show.

There, he claimed mo­torists sub­sidised infrastructure for trucks, given they are four times the size and 37 times heav­ier than cars and con­trib­ute more to on-road break­downs, and that the Vic­to­rian in­dus­try was be­ing brought into line with costs in other states. The Australian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ATA) re­jects Pal­las’ po­si­tion.

“The in­de­pen­dent gov­ern­ment body that makes rec­om­men­da­tions on road pric­ing, the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion, has con­cluded that truck and bus op­er­a­tors will be over­charged by $515 mil­lion na­tion­ally in 2016-17 and 2017-18,” ATA chair Noe­lene Wat­son says.

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