Labor drops the ball on Princes Highway funding
The Andrews Labor Government has refused to confirm if it’s even asked the Federal Government for funding to complete the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien asked the Roads Minister Luke Donnellan in Parliament recently if the State Government had sought the funding necessary from the Federal Government to complete the highway duplication.
He was astounded this week to receive a response that didn’t answer the question, suggesting that Labor either hasn’t asked for the money or is preparing to again play politics with important local transport infrastructure.
“It is astounding that this project, which has been bipartisan at both Federal and State levels for the past nearly 10 years, is now being mismanaged by the Andrews Labor Government.
“We have two remaining sections of the highway duplication that are unfunded and 20 per cent comes from the state and 80 per cent from the Commonwealth.
“I know my Federal colleague Darren Chester is working on ensuring the Federal contribution, but being a state road the Andrews Labor Government has to actually ask for it if the money is to be provided.
“This is an important project that will boost our local economy, delivering a dual lane highway all the way from Sale to Melbourne and will improve safety for motorists and visitors alike.
“I’ve been campaigning for Labor to include state funding for this project now for many years and I’m expecting it will be included in the upcoming state budget.
“However I’m flabbergasted that the Minister would not even confirm that he’s asked his Federal counterpart to provide funding for this important project.”
Mr O’Brien said he was concerned Labor might be preparing to play the same sort of politics it’s played on Gippsland rail services.
“We often see Labor attack the Federal Coalition about infrastructure funding only to find that it’s not even asked for it or provided a business case to justify the spending.
“Mr Donnellan says in his answer to me that he’ll continue working with the Federal Government but that requires a formal approach to ensure the funding can be delivered.
“The people of Sale and Wellington Shire are already sick of the road works that have been underway for a long time for this project, we just want to see it finished.
“The Andrews Labor Government needs to fund this in the budget next month and do the right thing in asking the Commonwealth for its share of the funding for this project.”