Roads will kill economy: Opposition
SHADOW Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said South Gippsland’s economy would suffer for years to come if its dire roads were not fixed.
Mr Donnellan visited the region last week, worried by reports that maintenance on many roads was occurring only after public complaints were made to VicRoads.
The established modus operandi for maintenance crews is to mark problem areas with spray paint, then fix them soon after. But according to some maintenance workers, this practice has changed, and problems are only being fixed if and when the public complains.
“What I’m hearing is alarming. If it’s true that maintenance is only happening on roads after complaints are being made to the department, the State Government needs to act,” Mr Donnellan said.
“There is an immediate need for greater funding for improvements and maintenance on roads like the South Gippsland Highway around Loch and Korumburra, as well as the Bass Highway between Inverloch and Leongatha.
“The previous government provided an average of $70 million of funding every year to improvements and maintenance across the Gippsland region. New roads funding has dropped dramatically since 2010.”
Mr Donnellan said: “Only $9.4 million of funding has been promised to new roads projects in the region under the Baillieu Government, $680 million less than what was spent under the previous government in the region.”
Mr Donnellan believes that a failure by the Coalition Government to channel more money into South Gippsland’s roads, would see local jobs and industries put at risk.
“Business across Gippsland relies on the roads to function. Farming, forestry and other major industries need good quality roads to do business,” he said.
“If Gippsland’s roads aren’t properly maintained, the effects on local industries will cause unnecessary pain for jobs in towns all across the region, and that must be avoided.”
Mr Donnellan said the government’s failure to maintain Gippsland’s potholed roads was a daily concern for drivers.
“All Victorians deserve first class quality roads to drive on, not just the Toorak Tractor brigade in inner city Melbourne, Mr Baillieu needs to be reminded of this fact,” he said.
“Mr Baillieu and the Transport Minister Terry Mulder need to stop neglecting Gippsland’s roads and drastically increase funding in the next State Budget to see future problems are avoided.”
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