Cr Loughnan said the internal traffic limits imposed by Coal Seam Gas (CSG) companies was probably designed to reduce risk to drivers and operators but is having the opposite effect.
He also said the current scenario with CSG traffic routinely travelling at speeds of up to 40 km/h slower than the general public is an unnecessary threat to the safety of all road users. That threat is exacerbated when those vehicles are bundled into a convoy situation or driving on dirt roads with poor visibility.
The CSG ‘Safer Together’ Land Transport Working Group (LTWG) will discuss the issue at its next meeting on 8 August after broaching the topic at its last two monthly meetings.
Council’s safety concerns were initially raised through the local CSG Advisory Committee and escalated for discussion at the LTWG (whose membership is drawn from Origin Energy, Santos GLNG, QGC and Arrow Energy). The group had been discussing the standardisation of safety initiatives between companies, but is now considering the Council approach of conforming to public speed limits in the broader interests of public safety.
Cr Loughnan says he understands why this policy was introduced.
“These companies have historically had a very strong focus on safety and have always tried to be seen to be doing the right thing. However with the benefit of hindsight, most people can now see that this was a flawed strategy and one that now needs to go, ironically, for the very reason it was introduced – safer roads,” Cr Loughnan said.
The Mayor said if the problem couldn’t be sorted out sensibly, Council would have little option but to consider limiting the slower industrial traffic to travelling at times of the day when the general public is less likely to be using the roads.
“I am certain that will not be a popular measure with the resource sector, but it would lower the blood pressure of countless frustrated motorists. I urge the LTWG group to show some leadership on this matter and restore the general limits respected by the rest of our travelling public.”
Cr Loughnan also said if there was a feeling the road speeds were inappropriate for CSG workers, one solution would be to approach whoever has jurisdiction of a particular road and request a lowering of the general speed limit. Those sorts of requests have been acted on by our Council in the past and I would welcome that sort of proactive and collaborative approach.”