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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 (Hansard) 16 May) . . Page.. 1385 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

To improve conditions over time we have distinguished between existing and new operators. A new operator will be one who commences to park a heavy vehicle on a residential lease after the introduction of the legislation. Existing operators will be restricted to the operating hours of 5.30 am to midnight. New operators' hours will be further restricted from 6.00 am to 10.00 pm to further enhance residential amenity. Under this agreement, Mr Speaker, the hours of operation will be the same as those sought by the residents groups of the working party. I note that the Greens think this is a good idea too, but they are not willing to make any concessions to existing operators. Prior to the development of these rules there were absolutely no controls on the operating hours of commercial vehicles parking in residential areas.

The Government will also introduce strict siting controls on the parking of commercial vehicles. This will reduce visual impact in residential areas and so improve neighbourhood amenity. Where an existing operator cannot meet the new guidelines we will adopt a sensitive approach to the issue. We will encourage moves to improve amenity through landscaping and other means. In any process to approve the vehicle continuing to park their neighbours will be consulted. Neighbours will be able to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if they are not satisfied with a decision. Fines will be imposed for non-compliance by operators with the rules. The rules are not intended to restrict households in cases where, for example, overnight parking associated with furniture removal or delivery may be required. The working party agreed that the rules will apply only to commercial vehicles which are parked on the same residential lease more than 12 times a year.

My department receives many complaints about large vehicles parked on the roads for extended periods of time, causing visibility problems for other road users. I will be amending the Motor Traffic Act 1936 to restrict the on-street parking of heavy vehicles to one hour in residential areas at any time throughout the day. The blanket ban being proposed by the Greens to all vehicles over 12 tonnes would place unreasonable restrictions on small business operators and would result in increased costs to the community. The people of Canberra, Mr Speaker, have a right to know where the Greens think that the Government is going to find $15m to fund the construction of three truck parking areas, which will accommodate only 450 trucks. The ACT community cannot afford this kind of expenditure. While I am sympathetic to resident concerns about the truck operators who may not always do the right thing, this needs to be balanced against the many hundreds of truck drivers who are considerate and do not cause their neighbours any inconvenience whatsoever.

I am pleased that the Leader of the Opposition has agreed in media reports that a blanket ban is not acceptable because "it ignores circumstances in individual situations because ... a truck might be housed properly without bothering neighbours". Mr Whitecross went on to say:

In a situation where successive governments have allowed them to park in suburbs you can't turn around and change that overnight.

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