Gippsland South Roads Gippsland East

Labor spending country money on city streets

Melbourne Labor has siphoned funding from a program designed to strengthen country bridges to upgrade 10 around the Premier’s metro electorate while funding just one in Gippsland.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said the revelation in Parliament yesterday that 10 out of 48 bridges to be funded under the “Stronger Country Bridges Program” were in Melbourne, was further evidence that this is a city-centric government.

“Labor’s faux “regional” bridges fund was from the outset a poor cousin to The Nationals’ $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program which helped rebuild over a dozen bridges in the electorates of Gippsland South and Gippsland East when we were in government.

“Having axed the Country Roads and Bridges Program and cut the roads budget by 10 per cent, Labor is now siphoning funds that were supposed to be for the country into the city,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said not one bridge was being funded in his electorate or Gippsland South.

“Daniel Andrews has used this money to improve bridges around his Melbourne electorate, while disregarding the needs of country motorists.”

Mr O’Brien said improving country roads was the number one issue in his electorate and was pleased the additional $130 million injected into the budget by The Nationals in Government last year had made significant improvements to a number of roads.

“We need to improve our roads and bridges to cope with increasing numbers of trucks, local and tourist traffic and Labor’s theft of country money for city projects is further evidence they couldn’t care less about country people,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said across her Gippsland electorate there were close to 700 bridges yet Melbourne Labor could only manage to fund an upgrade on one.

“This program highlights the true nature of this city-centric government and Melbourne Labor should be embarrassed about these statistics,” Ms Bath said.

“As I travel throughout the electorate, I constantly hear that people are concerned about the safety of rural roads, and yesterday’s news that Daniel Andrews will use this fund to create better roads for city motorists is just another blow for those of us in the country.”

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