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Rural roads funding cuts

At the recent Parliamentary inquiry into the 2021-22 budget report the Minister for Roads was glowing in self-praise for the work the Andrews Labor Government is apparently doing to fix rural roads, despite rural motorists still driving on roads full of potholes and crumbling surfaces.

The 2021/22 budget papers show in black and white that road asset maintenance funding has taken a staggering hit, dropping to $616 million from $823 million in 2020/21.

State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish knows the condition of rural roads is steadily worsening and band-aid repairs made by the Andrews Labor Government simply won’t suffice.

Ms McLeish said, “Labor continue to cut the budget and lower road condition standards. Without significant funds, rural and regional roads will get worse. Rural roads have never been prioritised under the Andrews Labor Government and that needs to change.”

Budget papers also show standards for road surface roughness and cracking have been lowered year-on-year, meaning Labor isn’t aiming for further improvements in these key areas. When asked why in PAEC hearing, the Minister couldn’t answer and passed it to a bureaucrat.

Ms McLeish continues, “It’s astounding that the Andrews Labor Government can praise the work being done to fix regional roads – because the reports I get from regional motorists and from my own experience driving, our roads have never been in worse condition.”

“Serious repairs need to be made along the Maroondah Highway at several points, Melba Highway and Goulburn Valley Highway.”

“All we see from Labor is quick fixes that fail after a few months and do nothing to fix the root cause of the problem. It’s clear that when it comes to regional roads, Labor is all about cuts,” Ms McLeish concludes.


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