1 May 2013
For immediate release
Australia spends twice as much per dollar of GDP on transport as the average OECD country. Freight productivity is therefore a key driver of our international competitiveness, and in supporting our standard of living. Increases in road freight vehicle size and capacity over the last 50 years have enabled more freight to be carried by fewer vehicles, and this has been a key driver behind productivity growth in the transport sector. Revisions to vehicle mass and dimension limits have been introduced hand-in-hand with other productivity enablers such as road network improvements and expanded network access coupled with improved fatigue and speed management regimes.
As one of the leading road transport research organisations in Australia and worldwide for over 50 years, ARRB has provided national expert technical support for all of these aspects through its research and expertise in this and other areas of importance to Australasian road authorities. Victoria has been a leading proponent of these improvements in enabling productivity growth through its initiatives in trialling high productivity freight vehicles and in the provision of suitable network access.
The announcement by Minister Terry Mulder today is another step in this journey, as it further extends the freight vehicle’s dimensional limits together with increased network access, and balanced with prudent controls and safeguards such as intelligent monitoring, adherence to performance based standards, fitment of safety systems and transport operator accreditation. This first phase with longer vehicles but not heavier masses (i.e., the initiative is currently a volumetric increase only) further mitigates risk on the road infrastructure whilst permitting productivity growth.
This initiative in Victoria, and around Melbourne specifically, allows such vehicles to access depots on the boundaries of Melbourne so that they can be decoupled and is the first of its kind in Australia. It offers the potential for freight owners, transport operators, regulators and the community to experience and learn from these next generation treatments, and to set the scene for the productivity growth of the future.