Industry forum discusses State Government’s Freight Plan

A breakfast forum hosted by Wyndham Industrial and Liaison Development (WILD), LeadWest and City of Wyndham recently highlighted the central role that the West will play as a transport hub well into the 2030s.

David Harris from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure commented on the State Government’s recently released Freight Plan “Victoria – The Freight State”. He outlined proposals to create an outer ring road and a new freight centre at Truganina. However, he also acknowledged that the Government had yet to commit funds to the directions outlined in the plan.

Dr. Hermione Parsons, Director of the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics and Associate Professor at Victoria University, highlighted significant questions about some of the assumptions in the plan.

She pointed out that the West is Melbourne’s dominant freight logistics area and a major urban growth corridor for continued metropolitan expansion. As such, cost effective and sustainable land side transportation is critical to link Port of Hastings for containerised freight.

The Plan shows cross city traffic movements between the West of Melbourne and Hastings will rely on largely unfunded long term plans to build and complete the current and outer ring roads and develop the South East Rail Link (SERL) dedicated freight line.

The East and South East now had a reduced percentage of port freight and the West had a higher proportion than ten years ago. Despite strong support for freight rail, Dr Parsons questioned whether the social and economic costs of the SERL make it a realistic proposition.  And if not, will the ring roads which greatly increase travel distances, time, the use of oil and the number of trucks provide sustainable and competitive landside transport links to make the Westernport port development feasible.

“The plan is a step forward”, said Councilor Glenn Goodfellow. “What the speakers at today’s forum made clear is that the lion’s share of freight is going to be borne by the West for the foreseeable future. However there are major practical, strategic, economic and social questions about the plan which require further discussion and debate.

Chair of the WILD group, Mick O’Donnell said, “Given the central role of this area in freight movements and the continued expansion and history of neglect of roads here, it is critical that the State and Federal Governments invest as a matter of urgency. I also encourage people to support the Fix Doherty’s Road Campaign”

“Wyndham Council is supporting the ‘Fix Doherty’s Road Campaign’ and advocating for a range of measures to reduce congestion in Wyndham”, said Councilor Glenn Goodfellow.

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