Working together to keep freight moving

Opinion - Melissa Horne

Throughout this entire pandemic, Victorians have been able to rely on freight. People have been able to count on the fact they won’t be left stranded without essentials like food and face masks – and that’s thanks to the way we have been able to keep the supply chain moving.

Thousands of people working in the freight industry have contributed to that effort, from truck drivers travelling tirelessly along freeways all over the country, to stevedores at the Port of Melbourne.

The fact is, that diligence and persistence has allowed freight to keep operating in Victoria throughout the entire pandemic.

Not only has that continued exports and kept us well-stocked, but it’s meant thousands of jobs within the industry have been retained.

Our government has been working closely with our counterparts in Canberra and around Australia to make sure this process has been as efficient as possible.

Even with the abrupt introduction of mandatory testing for truck drivers on the borders, a cooperative approach from the industry and concerted lobbying made it easier to get in and out of the state.

Now that National Cabinet has agreed to a unified code, which was developed based on consultation with industry, there is a more universal approach to border restrictions.

We know how important it is for those in other states to be keeping their communities safe, and we all worked together to establish the code. It’ll mean Victorian truck drivers will need to be extra vigilant when driving in other states, keeping thorough records of where they’re travelling, details of accommodation and onward and return travel.

Throughout it all, Victorian borders have remained open. We’ve put our trust in the industry to do the right thing and comply with safe working practices.

We’ve seen freight workers go that extra mile to get work permits, stick to their COVID-safe plans, and make sure they’re complying with Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional areas.

It’s a lot to keep track of, but we all appreciate the work the industry is doing to keep the community safe. It means we’ve been able to continue exporting goods and importing whatever we need.

We continue to work with the Commonwealth, the other states and industry stakeholders, and it’s that open communication which has served us so far. We’ve all done so well to keep freight moving seamlessly during the toughest crisis we’ve faced.

But there is plenty of work ahead of us, and as a government we’re not resting until the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.

Melissa Horne, Victoria Minister for Ports and Freight


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