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Road funds jar nearly empty

FEDERAL Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent has said government at all levels may not have enough money to permanently fix roads.
“It seems that not local, state or federal (governments) seem to have enough money to have an impact on the state of the roads,” he said.
“The thing is that it has got to the state where we repair one hole, then have a rain shower and it is back again.”
Mr Broadbent said he would continue to campaign for more funding over this term of office, keeping his pre-election promise.
He also said governments at various levels were pouring money into roads.
“The State Government have given over $120 million to shires around Victoria,” Mr Broadbent said.
“The Federal Government has said it will keep the Roads to Recovery program at the same level so the shires are guaranteed their Roads to Recovery money. That money does a whole road rather than just a patch up job.
“Secondly the Black Spots Program will continue as well so there are dedicated funds for roads to continue.
“That gives local government consistency in their approach and some confidence the funding stream will keep coming.”
Mr Broadbent said roads were an ongoing issue for the electorate.
“One of my staff this morning hit a pothole and bent the rim, meaning they had to change their tyre,” he said.
“That is not unusual across the electorate and everywhere I go people are telling me about potholes.”
The Municipal Association of Victoria last Friday passed a motion by South Gippsland Shire Council calling for more roads maintenance funding from the State Government.
The motion, debated at the MAV State Council, sought to readdress issues created by changes to the Road Management Act, mayor Cr Kieran Kennedy said.
“VicRoads used to have a certain number of hours to fix the pothole but now they put up a sign and the contractors get to it when they can,” he told last Wednesday’s council meeting.
“That resulted in the deterioration of our roads.”
Cr Kennedy said the poor state of local roads was the talk of the racetrack at the recent Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said the State Government considered carefully all motions raised by the MAV.
He said he understood the issue of roads maintenance and the “pivotal importance” of roads.
“We understand the councils are grateful for the $160 million we provide over four years to their roads programs on top of the other funding we give them, as well as VicRoads,” he said.
Cr Jeanette Harding said the South East Australian Transport Strategy was pushing for more maintenance funding across the eastern side of Australia.
Cr Andrew McEwen said the Coalition Government took $400 million from the roads budget and reinstated $280 million but had taken 380 engineers out of VicRoads, reducing its capacity to maintain roads.
Korumburra Business Association president David Amor said one pothole on the South Gippsland Highway had been repaired at least 26 times in the past 12 months. The hole is one kilometre west of Leongatha.
Mr Amor urged council to lobby Mr Broadbent and Mr Ryan for funding.
The MAV State Council also approved motions by other Gippsland councils to:
• ask the Minister for Local Government to amend the Local Government Act to define charitable purposes (Bass Coast Shire Council);
• lobby the State Government to have meaningful community engagement to inform the development of the Multiple Land Use Framework in Victoria (Bass Coast Shire Council);
• ask the State Government to ensure councils do not collect state drainage levies (Baw Baw Shire Council);
• lobby the State Government to reconsider changes to Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery funding (Wellington Shire Council); and
• seek commitment from the State Government to provide adequate staff to the Department of Environment and Primary Industry to enable department obligations to be met (tabled by East Gippsland Shire Council).

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=9167

Posted by on Oct 29 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Road funds jar nearly empty”

  1. Surprise surprise, Rural areas get treated like second class citizens yet again.
    A Jar by definition is something that can be refilled and yet we are brushed off with a simplistic “Sorry folks, the jar is empty”.
    How about delaying or scrapping the east/west tunnel project and using the billions from that project for some decent road repairs.
    I recently had yet ANOTHER new tyre destroyed on the South Gippy Hwy which when added to the broken rim and other tyres destroyed in the past 24 months not to mention untold damage to the front suspension of my car have cost me dearly.
    When the Country Roads Board existed this was never an issue and yet in this age of privatisation and state owned asset sell off it is an increasing issue with cars swerving all over the roads to avoid damage, Cracked and smashed windscreens a common occurrence and the ancillary damage to cars mounting daily.
    The roads are now in a dangerous state as well as causing damage to cars they are creating situations daily where cars find themselves on the wrong side of the road avoiding damage and I have witnessed smaller cars thrown violently around after contact with potholes and sink holes.
    The constant patching also has a dangerous effect on smaller cars, often driven by younger inexperienced drivers and the elderly and in wet conditions this mixture of bad roads and small cars creates situation where control of the car is ad hoc at best.
    Move funding about and refill the “Jar” before its too late and stop treating Rural voters as third class citizens.

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