O’Brien continues fight on South Gippsland Highway funding
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says a $50m Federal-State package for the South Gippsland Highway is a great outcome for the local community.
Mr O’Brien, who has been fighting for the funding to address the dangerous Black Spur bends between Koonwarra and Meeniyan, said he was pleased to be able to get the State Government to match the Federal Coalition’s contribution. However he said it was important that the State Government recognise it would likely need to increase the funding commitment it has now made.
“The Federal Coalition made its commitment to the South Gippsland Highway very clear. Darren Chester allocated $20m to the Black Spur project and a further $5m between Foster and Yarram.
“The Melbourne Labor Government needs to match both of these commitments and ensure that we upgrade as much of the highway as possible.
“I understand the Black Spur realignment is likely to cost more than $50 million which would mean that the State Government will need to contribute well more than the $25m that has been announced so far.
“There was never any obligation for the Commonwealth to contribute to the South Gippsland Highway as it is not on the national network, so the $25m that Darren Chester and Russell Broadbent have delivered is effectively a free gift for Daniel Andrews and Luke Donellen.
“The State Government must put in any shortfall to fully fund the Black Spur section and ensure that the full $10m of joint funding from federal and state governments for works east of Foster is delivered.
“I believe that with that $10m we could deliver a new overtaking lane between Foster and Welshpool as well as widening the road and taking out some of the curves in some sections and I call on the Labor Government to continue to work to that effect. So far its announcements have been short on detail, but the people living east of Foster deserve a better road as well.”
Mr O’Brien said it was clear that the Black Spur and the wider South Gippsland upgrade would not have occurred if it was left to the Labor Party.
“I know we’ve been waiting for this project for a long time, but it has taken action by The Nationals Darren Chester and Member for McMillan, Russell Broadbent, to spur the state government into action.
“I am pleased to have played my part in lobbying for this project, but I want to ensure that it is delivered in full for all South Gippslanders: that is the Black Spur realignment is completed as well as works further to the east.”