The Victorian Farmers Federation has scored a major win after lobbying successfully for the weight restriction stopping large trucks from travelling along key roads in Melbourne’s north east at night be raised to accommodate farmers taking their produce to early morning markets.
The North East Truck Curfew which, since August 2015, has restricted freight vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes from travelling on arterial roads including Rosanna Road, Lower Plenty Road, Waterdale Road, and Waiora Road, will now be raised to only include trucks weighing above 16.5 tonnes, and will save farmers from having to travel along unsafe roads to reach market.
“Raising the weight restriction means flower, fruit and vegetable growers from the eastern districts will again be able to use the most direct route from their farms to the Melbourne Wholesale Market,” VFF Horticulture President Owen Brinson said.
“We’ve been lobbying on behalf of market users to have the curfew removed or raised, so we’re pleased the government has listened and that we finally have a positive outcome.”
Mr Brinson said the weight restriction had been a burden on growers who have had to either pay exorbitant toll charges to access the market via the CityLink motorways or take small country roads, increasing the risk of accidents.
“The curfew has been a real safety hazard for drivers, with some needing to drive additional distances late at night when it’s difficult to see wildlife on the road and easy to get fatigued,” he said.
The VFF has been an active participant in the North East Truck Curfew Consultative Group and successfully argued the need to raise the vehicle weight limit without impacting surrounding communities.
“It’s important to address community concerns around noise but it’s of equal importance to ensure that the issue of larger vehicles is not just pushed onto other roads,” Mr Brinson said.