Adjournment – HPFV Network

My Adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety and I ask him to provide the Parliament with a full report on the current state of the High Productivity Freight Vehicle Network.

Last week the Department provided information to the industry about reducing red tape and making it easier for HPFV to move around regional Victoria.

It said that 700 kilometres of routes have been pre-approved which streamlining the permit process for certain combinations in northern central and eastern Victoria.

While this reduction of red tape is welcome, if not long overdue, upon follow up with industry stakeholders, the announcement doesn’t look to fix the major problems with the network and is hampering planning for freight carriers across the state.

The network is still full of choke points – which means many routes aren’t suitable for the heaviest and most efficient freight vehicle combinations. For example, a 36m a-double milk tanker, carrying product from Portland through to Melbourne can’t make the full trip because of a restricted bridge along the route.

It’s the same for a A-Double travelling from Shepparton to Melbourne – with a number of restricted bridges along the way.

This means that the most efficient vehicle can’t be used and means more trucks on roads which are already buckling and breaking under the pressure of an increased freight task.

I ask the Minister to provide to the parliament a list of choke points along the network, the estimated cost of bringing these up to a standard to allow the highest level HPFVs and what this will cost and what the expected time frame of the work would be.

By providing this information the Minister will also be allowing the industry to plan – a carrier isn’t going to go out and buy a fleet of A-Doubles if the routes they need to operate on can’t handle them because of a couple of bridges or culverts that need upgrading.

Letting the industry know which areas are going to be repaired to be bought up to standard will allow them to look at their needs and plan accordingly.

Getting this network up to scratch to allow for the highest level of these HPFVs will in turn reduce the amount of trucks on our roads – because one trip will be able to carry much more product to where it needs to be – which of course means less trips.

These HPFVs are better for long term road conditions, because the weight is move evenly distributed across the vehicle meaning the impact on the road surface is more evenly spread and of course lead to less movements.

Minister for the benefit of our freight industry and the condition of roads I urge you to get these bridges and culverts upgraded and provide the industry with a timeline of works so they can plan their future fleet needs.

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