If it wins next month’s state election, Victoria’s Labor party is offering truck operators up to $20,000 to upgrade their vehicles in a bid to improve air quality on inner west Melbourne streets.
The plan is part of Labor’s 10-year clean air strategy, which will be released today (October 27), reports The Age newspaper.
“No community should have to worry about air quality in their suburb,” said the state’s Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
Labor will spend $15 million on those subsidies if successful at the polls on November 26, and a further $5 million worth of grants would be made available to local councils to seal roads, to reduce dust pollution from trucks, and “give communities in the west a breath of fresh air”.
Long-time neighbourhood lobbyist, The Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG), welcomed the announcement, but also called for clearer targets, filtration in the West Gate Tunnel toll road, and freight moved on to rail.
“Let’s hope there are clear targets and timelines to ensure the program achieves its aim of cleaning up air pollution in Melbourne’s inner west,” said a statement on the group’s Facebook page.
“This is something that MTAG has long campaigned for, along with the Inner West Air Quality Network. It was also recommended by two major reports into old trucks by Austroads and the Grattan Institute.
“This is a great step forward.”
The Andrews government estimates that Transurban’s West Gate Tunnel toll road will take 9000 trucks off local roads once it’s built. The $10 million project is expected to be finished in 2025.