Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (09:49): Last week’s budget showed that Labor cannot manage money, and it is our roads across the state that are suffering as a result. Buried in the performance measures is clear data showing just how bad the lack of maintenance spending on roads has got. The total area of roads resurfaced or rehabilitated fell from 10 million square metres to just 1 ‍million, and in regional Victoria from 9 million to a paltry 343,000. That is a reduction of 96 per cent. It confirms what we have heard from road builders and spray seal contractors: that there were no resurfacing contracts issued by the government last year for the first time in at least 40 years. That just leaves a ticking time bomb of roads maintenance that will explode as even worse road conditions in coming years. This was the consequence of the lowest road maintenance budget in 10 years, at just $441 million, a 45 per cent cut since 2020. By contrast, the government’s Big Build program continues to blow out in cost to a total of $40 billion. The North East Link blowout last year of $10 billion alone highlights the neglect of our roads, a $10 billion cost overrun on one single project versus $441 million to fix the whole state’s roads. The result is more potholes, rough roads and damage to Victorians’ vehicles. There was a 414 per cent increase in damage claims last year. Victorians are regularly asking: why does my car have to be roadworthy when the roads are not carworthy? Labor cannot manage money, and our roads are a disgrace as a result.

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