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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1255 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

We find this whole situation quite bizarre. In other cities there is no question that there should be controls over large trucks being kept in residential areas. In many local council areas there are planning restrictions on the parking of trucks in residential areas. Why is it that Canberra, the national capital and a city known for the quality of its environment, cannot come to grips with this issue? Why do trucks have such a high priority over residents? The Greens think it is time for this issue to be resolved once and for all. I understand that there have been studies of this issue going back to the mid-1970s. We therefore cannot claim that the points raised in our motion are original. In fact, all we are really doing is attempting to implement good ideas that have been raised many times in the past but have never been acted on because of the power of the truck lobby.

The key point in our motion, which sets it apart from the Government's approach, is that we want the largest trucks and semitrailers banned from parking overnight in our suburbs as soon as practicable. These trucks over 20 tonnes have been the major source of dispute between neighbours, and the Government's response has done little to resolve this. Trucks over 12 tonnes also cause considerable disruption to the neighbourhoods, and there needs to be a process set in place to phase them out of the suburbs. These large trucks are very difficult to manoeuvre in narrow residential streets, let alone around the side of a house. We think it is impractical to say that large trucks can be allowed on residential blocks provided they park behind the building line. Even more noise will be generated as these trucks attempt to manoeuvre down a driveway, and the parking space may end up being closer to a neighbour's bedroom than if the truck were parked out the front of the house.

The major criticism that has been levelled at our proposals is that it is too costly and inconvenient to park the trucks elsewhere. Let us examine this cost, because there is a real question of equity here. At present the neighbours of truck operators are bearing the environmental costs of trucks being parked in residential areas. This can also be translated into financial costs, as there has already been a case where a resident has had the rates valuation reduced because of the impact on the property's value from a truck parked next-door. If every resident in a similar situation across Canberra also applied for a rates reduction it would have a significant impact on government revenue. The simple fact is that truck operators are getting free parking for their vehicles when many other people have to pay to park their vehicles at work, and many businesses pay for the provision of parking for their employees and for their company vehicles. This is certainly a case for having a level playing field, or perhaps I should say a level car park, for all businesses.

The Government tells us that it is going to cost millions to build truck parking areas in the industrial areas, but that is not what we are asking for. We think that the Government should think a bit laterally about finding parking spaces for these trucks. There are already acres of car parks around the city in the industrial and commercial areas which are away from residential areas and which are empty at night. The Government should first be looking at how these areas could be utilised for truck parking, before any consideration is given to building new truck parks. Even if this becomes necessary, and we doubt that it would be, we believe that such truck parks should be run on a commercial basis, just like many other car parks around Canberra. The Government should not be subsidising truck businesses.

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