Labor’s roads pledge a mirage

Labor’s promise to deliver $1 billion over eight years to country roads funding is a mirage that even the Roads Minister can’t explain.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien questioned Roads Minister Luke Donnellan during hearings of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee today.

Mr O’Brien said he was astounded that the Minister could not identify where the pledge is reflected in the Budget papers.

“I reminded the Minister of his past comments that there was an immediate need for additional roads funding in Gippsland and asked him to show the committee where the $1 billion promise was in the Budget papers,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Despite repeated questioning, the Minister could not do so and failed to explain when the funding would be delivered.

“I know that the state of our roads in Gippsland South is one of the biggest issues for my constituents, which is why I was pursuing the Minister hard.”

Mr O’Brien said Labor’s budget had cut 10 per cent from roads funding as well as terminating the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program, which delivered $1 million per year to councils such as South Gippsland and Wellington.

“For Labor to be now walking away from its $1 billion pledge is another broken promise,” he said.

“In any event, at just $125 million a year the promise was already significantly below that delivered by the Coalition.”

Mr O’Brien said the Minster was on the record while in Opposition as highlighting the need for immediate funding for South Gippsland roads to ensure the best possible infrastructure for local industries and motorists.

“I wholeheartedly agree, which is why the Coalition was spending more on road repairs. It is very disappointing that Labor is now cutting funding and walking away from its own promise.”

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