Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has warned that a call for large trucks to be banned from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel would do more harm than good by impacting road safety, local supply chains and the state’s wider economy.
The Sydney Business Chamber wasted no time in calling for the New South Wales Government to “immediately ban large trucks of this kind from using the Sydney Harbour Tunnel” after a truck triggered sensors south-bound of the Warringah Freeway on the approach to the tunnel yesterday morning.
However, RFNSW CEO, Simon O’Hara, said, if imposed, the ban would have crippling impacts on the daily operations of RFNSW members – many of whom are small, family-owned trucking businesses already facing higher road-user charges, workers compensation and wages.
“Given that we’re a member of Sydney Business, we’re disappointed that they would make such ill-conceived comments without reaching out to RFNSW and our members, asking that we work collaboratively on solutions around this issue of large trucks using tunnels across the Sydney metropolitan road network,” he said.
O’Hara said it is important to consider the implications of what Sydney Business is proposing on safety, small business, critical supply chains and the wider NSW economy.
“RFNSW is extremely concerned that large performance trucks, particularly PBS-approved vehicles, would be removed from tunnel roads and be forced back on to suburban roads,” he said.
“This would pose a real safety risk to motorists on smaller, unsuitable roads and be in direct contravention of national and state safety standards and laws.”
With the industry still recovering from the economic impacts of COVID policy, O’Hara is of the belief it cannot compromise freight operations by selectively banning some vehicles from roads.
“Is the suggestion that trucks use suburban community roads and not use the infrastructure designed for heavy vehicles? If it is, then we are going to have more problems than an obstructed tunnel,” he said.
“We need to ensure best safety and economic outcomes for all motorists and the community,” continued O’Hara.
“RFNSW believes we still require greater public awareness and education policies and technology to ensure that drivers are made aware of their responsibilities and are taking preventative actions and complying regulations, particularly those drivers coming from interstate or out of Sydney.”