The Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight is calling for temporary changes to truck curfews to be extended to ensure Victorians can still get quick access to food and medical supplies.
Curfews placed on heavy vehicles were relaxed on March 21st, in response to the initial outbreak of COVID-19. In the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee COVID-19 Response Inquiry, Minister for the Coordination of Transport - COVID-19, Jacinta Allan, quietly announced that the curfews would be put back in place on September 21st.
Now that we are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, it is clear that there will be a need to continue the changes to curfews beyond September. We have seen retail goods distribution centres shutting down because of positive COVID-19 contacts, transport drivers who were struck down with COVID-19 and increased demand for vital consumer goods.
The only way to stop panic buying occurring is to ensure our supermarket shelves are stocked at all times. The only way this can be guaranteed is if deliveries can be made outside regular hours.
Ms Britnell is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to immediately tell consumers that, past September, they will continue to have unabated access to the goods they need because trucks will deliver to supermarkets at the right time.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:
“Now that we are in a second wave of COVID-19, we know that demand for consumer goods will be heightened well beyond September. It’s essential that, when they venture out, people will be able to get the products where and when they need.
“We have seen the issues created for the freight and retail industries when the NSW and SA borders were closed to Victorians at short notice. The confusion these closures created caused great concern to the freight and retail industries and consumers alike.
“The relaxed curfews are doing their job now, but this job will still need to be done in October and beyond. I am calling for Jacinta Allan and Melissa Horne to come out now and announce the extension. This will stop any risk of panic buying before it occurs again.”