Road funding plummets
STATE Government funding for roads maintenance has been slashed by about 60 per cent.
While the government spent almost $11.8 million on resurfacing country roads in 2011-12, the projected figure for 2012-13 has dropped to just $4.3 million.
The drop in road resurfacing targets, released in the state budget, are explained as a “prioritisation towards routine maintenance”.
Shadow Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the government’s penny pinching would lead to eventual infrastructure breakdown.
“You can avoid putting oil in your engine once or twice to save a bit of money, but if you keep failing to put in oil, your engine will blow. This is what’s happening with roads maintenance under the Baillieu Government,” he said.
He said that documents released under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request pertaining to the condition of South Gippsland roads, showed that the government had continued to pin the blame for poor road maintenance on contractors.
The common reply to those who wrote to complain about potholed local roads that the workers had been taken to task and reminded of their “contractual obligations”.
“Blaming the contractor is a convenient ploy by the Baillieu Government which is failing to fund road maintenance. Targets of road resurfacing have more than halved under this government, from 10.7 million square meters in 2011 to 4.3 million square meters in the 2012 budget,” Mr Donnellan said.
Victorian director of Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia, Bede Payne, also said the cuts would lead to a dramatic increase in potholes and unsafe roads.
“Like the cars that drive on them, our roads need regular maintenance to keep them safe,” Mr Payne said.
“Our roads are the lifeblood of our communities. We need to invest more in keeping them safe, not slash their maintenance funding as the Baillieu Government has done.
“You simply can’t cut local road maintenance funding by 60 per cent and get rid of 450 positions from VicRoads and ignore the wear and tear on our roads.”
Mr Payne said people living in Victoria deserved better roads that would keep local residents safe.
“If you love driving on potholes you are going to love the Baillieu Government,” Mr Payne said.
“If you want safe roads that connect regional communities I urge you to contact your local MP and raise your voice alongside APESMA.”
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