Minister for Roads Terry Mulder met with truckies at Violet Town last week.By Angela Townsend
Roads Minister Terry Mulder and Member for Benalla Bill Sykes attended a meeting in Violet Town last Wednesday to hear truck drivers’ and operators’ views about risk factors following a number of truck incidents on Hume Fwy this year.
The meeting came as VicRoads spends $9
Mr Mulder said it was initially a four-year plan to have new rest stops built, but most of the work would be completed by next year.
‘‘I have asked VicRoads to do some analysis to see whether that will be enough to cater for the growth we’re seeing, particularly with B-doubles.
‘‘It is one thing to have in place laws that say people need to rest, but we have to make sure as a government we provide them with the opportunities to do so.’’
Mr Mulder, who holds a heavy transport licence himself, said drivers were concerned that some of the laws weren’t working the way they expected they should, particularly in relation to fatigue.
One of the main issues is the lack of flexibility because of a one-size-fits-all approach to compulsory rest breaks.
‘‘The standard seven-hour break at the moment seems to be the issue that is causing most of them a lot of concern in terms of a template over each and every person, whether or not it fits in with people’s sleeping patterns.
‘‘We’re going to have to have a look at that again; it will be addressed as a national issue now because we have the national regulator being set up, but certainly even in the meetings I’ve had with other states fatigue is the number-one issue.’’
‘‘I think Aldi was raised as one of the companies that sets a good example of getting drivers in and out very quickly; other companies aren’t as good, and that is something we can take up with those companies,’’ Mr Mulder said.
‘‘We are prepared to take that up after today’s discussion. It certainly isn’t something that has been raised with me in the past — that is the good thing about having these sorts of meetings.’’
Dr Sykes said he was ‘‘very pleased the minister came and listened’’.
‘‘He ‘got it’ and is committed to act — I believe the truckies shared that view,’’ Dr Sykes said.
‘‘The key issues are the number of truck stops, including fast-tracking those on the drawing board.
‘‘We need to build flexibility into fatigue management rules, and the minister will look further into this.
‘‘As expected, truckies were very forthright in expressing themselves,’’ Dr Sykes said.
‘‘There were many decades of experience in that room.’’
Fourth-generation Violet Town farmer and former shire president Tom Maher has lived alongside Hume Hwy — later the Hume Fwy — his entire life and has witnessed the aftermath of many accidents during this time.
His grandfather, farmer Thomas Maher died on Christmas Day in 1937 when a car ran into his horse and cart while he was crossing the road to access his paddocks.
Mr Maher said nothing had changed and the government was not keeping up in maintaining the state of the freeway for the amount of traffic it now carried.
‘‘The traffic’s increasing and they haven’t done the road works — it’s 30 years old,’’ he said.
‘‘We need a full freeway built standard to the national grid — a four- or six-lane carriageway.
‘‘VicRoads planting trees along the freeway was a bloody mistake — they’re killing people.
‘‘You’d be horrified at the number of people I’ve seen killed.’’
No-one was injured following a truck and car crash on Katamatite-Nathalia Rd, Katamatite.
After a tennis career spanning 62 years, of which the last 35 years have been as a coach, Yarrawonga's Jon Coleman is set to retire at the end of 2013.
The recent Kyabram Master Pairs, played over six days with crack sides from near and far, attracted some talented bowlers eager to win the prestige event.
More than a hundred CFA members gathered on Friday night for the Echuca Urban Fire Brigade’s annual dinner.
Rochester couple Tanya and Mick Baker are looking forward to their new venture, wine making.
Kyabram Lawn Tennis Club’s annual junior singles tournament again attracted good numbers from across the district.
The annual chance to meet, mix and ride with world-class cyclists is a success again.
Reigning Murray Valley Cricket Association premier Strathmerton was far too good for Finley on Saturday, registering a 115-run victory.
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters was presented with a copy of central Victorian residents’ signatures supporting the National Broadband Network last Tuesday.
Cobram's Riding for the Disabled Association has clocked up a quarter of a century of helping those with disability.
The official launch of the Murray Valley Industry Park facility today will see the announcement of the Deni Innovation Expo 2014 date.
SPC Ardmona, is sending eight containers loaded with $250,000 of fruit and vegetables to cyclone ravaged Philippines.
A severe weather warning has been issued for north-east Victoria after a day of heavy rain.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.