News State Victoria News Food trucks would be forced to stay 500m from existing businesses under council’s plan

Food trucks would be forced to stay 500m from existing businesses under council’s plan

Albert Cerminara said Hobsons Bay City Council's draft mobile vendor policy is "scary and disappointing". Photo: Supplied/Albert Cerminara
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Mobile traders would be required to stay at least 500 metres from existing ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses under a proposal by a council in Melbourne’s west.

Hobsons Bay City Council released their draft mobile vendors policy for community feedback on Monday, saying it “seeks to balance the interests of mobile vendors with the interests of other businesses”.

Local food truck owner, Albert Cerminara, said the draft policy was “unreasonable and unfair”.

“Competition is a good thing, choice is a good thing,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Mr Cerminara’s family has operated the Mr Fresh ice-cream van for close to 40-years in and around Hobsons Bay.

“[My father] is a 70-year-old man and it will just mean he will not be able to take his beloved ice cream truck around his neighbourhood,” Mr Cerminara said.

If approved in its current state food trucks with a roaming permit would be required to remain at least 500 metres from ‘activity centres’ or existing businesses.

Mobile businesses would also face an annual permit fee of $12,000.

Mr Cerminara said 100 metres would be a “fair and reasonable distance” and called for the annual permit fee to be brought into line with neighbouring councils.

“Maribyrnong City Council charge their mobile vendors (standard) an annual fee of $3,152.50 to roam the entire municipality,” he said.

“Hume City Council charges their mobile vendors an annual fee of $967 to also roam the municipality. Why such a vast difference from one neighbouring council to another?”

President of the Laverton Traders Association, Mahesh Garg, is still waiting on feedback from his members but broadly welcomed the policy.

“The fixed premises are paying so much rent it would be good to have a more competitive market,” he said.

He agreed that mobile vendors should stay at least 500m from existing businesses, but said the $12,000 annual permit fee could be “excessive” when you consider many food trucks only work weekends or after hours.

The Mayor of Hobsons Bay City Council welcomed the feedback from businesses, saying that is why the policy was out for consultation.

“We are actively inviting the people who live, visit and work in Hobsons Bay to share their thoughts to tell us what you think and help us get the policy setting right,” Cr Jonathon Marsden said.

“We want to see an equitable approach to trading in Hobsons Bay and when managed appropriately, both mobile and bricks and mortar businesses contribute to a vibrant and diverse local economy.”