The Nationals Member for Gippsland South and Shadow Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Danny O’Brien has expressed concern for the future of local roads following the State Budget which cuts 25 per cent from roads maintenance.
Mr O’Brien highlighted that the 25 per cent cut is on top of a massive $380 million reduction in annual spending on road maintenance since 2020 – a 45 per cent cut in total.
“Our roads are already in a parlous state and need more investment not less,” Mr O’Brien said.
“This further reduction in funding will see roads like the South Gippsland Highway, Meeniyan-Promontory Road, Sale-Maffra Road, Strzelecki Highway and the Hyland Highway being left to suffer cheap band-aid fixes or ignored altogether.
“Our local roads should receive as much attention as the multi-billion dollar projects in the city.”
According to the most recent TAC data, more than 130 lives have been lost on Victorian roads in the year to-date, a near-40 per cent increase on last year.
“While there are many factors in the road toll, too many Victorian roads are plagued by crumbling shoulders and massive potholes that are a daily danger to road users.
“It’s criminal that the State Government has again cut the roads maintenance budget this year by a further 25 per cent when in fact it should be increasing it.”
Ahead of last year’s election, The Nationals committed to providing $10 billion in funding over 10 years to fix Victoria’s crumbling road system with the funding to be delivered through the annual road asset management budget, increasing spending from around $600 million to $1 billion annually. Under Labor this year it will fall to $441 million.
“After matching The Nationals commitment to digital driver licences, the Andrews Labor Government must now match our commitment to adequately fund road maintenance by reversing their savage cuts and reinstating the Country Roads & Bridges Program after axing it.”