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The Liberal candidate for Bendigo East, Greg Bickley stated in the story ‘Don’t ignore roads’(Bendigo Weekly Friday, 31 October) that ‘ Freight Hubs have been spoken about for many years and they are a waste of time and money.’
This comment reveals how out of touch Greg Bickley is with transport trends and innovation. In New South Wales they are rolling out Freight Hubs to reduce the amount of trucks on the roads and put more freight on rail. Greg Bickley fails to justify and provide a substantial reason why freight should be carried by trucks on the road. The Freight Rail Alliance made up of 23 councils are advocating and lobbying to have Freight Rail Hubs constructed to specifically move freight from road transport to freight rail.
Between 1996 and 1998 the abysmal Jeff Kennett Government moved 6.3 million tonnes of intra state rail freight from the efficiency of rail to the inefficiency of road transport. The level of freight on trucks has grown exponentially, because they do not have competition from rail, which the Kennett government eliminated. The result of Kennett’s decision has resulted in our road infrastructure is crumbling under the overweight B Doubles driving on roads that were not engineered to carry them.
Grain Corp catalogued 40,000, truck movements for the 2013 – 2014 harvest and have plans to shift more of their grain transport back onto rail.
In South Australia, after an audit of safety for trucks, 6,000 were deemed to be unroad worthy with major faults.
The margins of profitability are being eroded by costs in the trucking industry with the result of cost cutting on repairs, maintenance and hours driven by drivers. The South Australian and Cootes truck disaster involving a petrol tanker are blatant evidence of the deep seated problems of the road transport industry carrying freight.
We should be asking Greg Bickley whose interests is he going to represent if he tragically wins the election – the aspirations of the people of East Bendigo or the insular interests of his family’s truck transport company?
It will be quite likely that Greg Bickley will not win Bendigo East – he’ll then will appear to be a waste of time and money.
Public Relations Manager
Rail Revival Alliance
0439 961 646
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