Cootes Transport

I raise my concerns about the safety of road users and families in my electorate in relation to safety and maintenance breaches by Cootes Transport on Victorian roads. Fuel tankers are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. They carry loads that make them vulnerable to rollovers and explosions. Highly skilled drivers deliver hundreds of petrol and gas loads in these tankers every week travelling on suburban, regional and rural roads. They are sharing the roads with the 55 000 constituents I represent in the electorate of Keilor while those people are on their way to work, school or after-school activities or are on holidays.

Five months ago VicRoads and authorities in New South Wales issued hundreds of defect notices on the trucks owned by Cootes Transport; they were found to have inadequate brakes, oil and fuel leaks and axle and suspension failures.

Despite all of these findings, these trucks were allowed back on the road over January and for the first two weeks of February.

Last Monday, 10 February, the New South Wales government took the Cootes trucks off the road. It took until 14 February for Victoria to inspect again, and then it was only a voluntary suspension of the trucks by the company. Twenty-five trucks were inspected and 25 were found to be defective. In the last 24 hours the New South Wales government has laid over 300 charges against Cootes Transport, yet the Victorian government remains silent on this safety crisis. Is VicRoads being resourced to deal with this crisis?