Our plan to keep freight moving

For the sixth time since March 2020, the Andrews Labor Government has sent Victoria into lockdown without a plan for the state’s recovery, no plan to solve the urgent mental health crisis and no plan to get our kids back to school.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Labor has failed to keep the supply chain moving to ensure Victorians can access the essential items they need when they need them.

The Andrews Labor Government has ignored pleas for assurance from industry stakeholders, and the Minister for Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne, is so ineffective as an advocate for her portfolios that Daniel Andrews won’t even have her speak publicly in her capacity as a Minister.

In contrast to this lack of planning, the Liberal Nationals have a plan to keep freight moving as we learn to live with COVID-19:

1. Make the freight sector exempt from needing an ‘Authorised Worker Permit’

The sector has an effective system in place to keep track of driver movements – a permit adds no extra value and just creates more administration.

2. Priority vaccination appointments for freight and distribution centre workers

As supplies of the vaccine no longer become an issue, workers essential to the viability of the supply chain must be given priority access to vaccination appointments.

3. Freight-friendly testing sites

Large truck drivers have an obligation for regular testing, but most testing sites are not set up to handle big vehicles. There must be freight-friendly testing sites, available to handle large vehicles, set up on major routes as a matter of urgency.

4. Introduce regular rapid testing opportunities for freight drivers

Regular rapid testing provides accurate results and allows for the isolation and contact tracing process to start much, much sooner.

With every week in lockdown costing our state $1 billion and compounding social and mental health harms, Daniel Andrews must immediately adopt these measures and ensure Victorians are able to access vital supplies in their time of need.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:

“A healthy, functioning supply chain is the only way Victorians will have access to essential goods.

“The Andrews Labor Government has no plan to keep freight moving, and the Minister for Ports and Freight doesn’t even speak up for her portfolios anymore.

“This plan will fix elements that, left unattended, threaten the viability of the Victorian supply chain. At a time when Victorians are vulnerable, this would be a further disaster.

“I am calling on the Andrews Labor Government to immediately take up these steps, thereby reassuring Victorians that they are doing something to ensure they will continue to have access to the goods they need.”