Last week, the TWU Victoria & Tasmania launched part one of an eight-point plan to improve safety for transport workers by calling on the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne to pause plans for an increase to fixed bike lanes in Melbourne’s CBD. As a result, plans have been put on hold while we work to ensure that public CBD roads are safe for transport workers and all road users.
The decision to implement fixed lanes throughout the CBD was done so with minimal consultation with relevant industry stakeholders including the TWU. Since then, the union has seen a surge of reports regarding safety-related incidents in the CBD by members in furniture removal, armoured vehicles, parcel and freight delivery, rideshare and gig workers.
The lack of consultation and foresight is extremely concerning to the TWU – this union works each and every day to improve safety for all transport workers. Rash decisions like these are short-sighted and only increase risks to transport workers. Further, this decision has seen increased workloads and extensive manual handling requirements for drivers, and has affected on time deliveries for businesses.
It is the TWU’s position that there should be an increase to shared zones, safe loading zones in each building block between each street and increased consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
It is simply not good enough for any authority to make single-minded decisions which positively impact a minority of road users that in turn alienate and risk the safety of many others. Beyond this, the City of Melbourne is screaming out for people to return to the CBD, yet transport workers are finding it near impossible to deliver goods and services safely to businesses. It is a counterproductive approach by the City of Melbourne on multiple levels.
All of this could have been avoided had appropriate consultation with relevant stakeholders taken place. The TWU will continue to push for an approach which considers the needs and safety of all road users – it’s time for authorities to go back to the drawing board and construct a sensible, safe and responsible road plan for all road users.