The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, said the Andrews Labor Government’ own infrastructure advisory panel has highlighted Labor has no plan for regional road maintenance to ensure taxpayers are getting the biggest bang for their bucks.
Mr Walsh said infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year strategy says the current road maintenance funding model is “inconsistent” which means maintenance is left until it is “most expensive and ultimately inflates costs”.
He said it also mirrored the Victorian Auditor-General’s 2017 report on state managed roads which highlighted the Andrews Government’s expensive “worst first” approach.
“Under the Liberal Nationals Government; we established and delivered the Country Roads and Bridges fund, which provided $1 million to every one of the state’s 40 regional local government areas – every year; for four years,” Mr Walsh said.
“If re-elected we will bring it straight back; so shires around Victoria can do some serious long-term planning on road maintenance knowing their base funding is going to be available every year,” he added. “Shire officials told us they didn’t want to function in a world where they got a big lick of money and then nothing for the next three, four or five years; they just wanted locked in, consistent funding.”
Mr Walsh said Infrastructure Victoria recommends the Government develop a plan for regional roads and bridges and then dedicate 10 years of sustainable maintenance funding.
He said under Daniel Andrews and Labor there is no plan for regional road and bridge maintenance; and money is being sucked up fixing problems when they’ve gone past the point of no return.
What he described as “classic Andrews Government’ as it was always “too little; too late”.
“All regional motorists want is safe roads that don’t resemble goat tracks, but Daniel Andrews and Labor have no plan to deliver that,” Mr Walsh said.
“There are now two reports that call for significant changes to the way we approach regional road maintenance,” he said.
“And they are calling for better monitoring and more cost-effective – and proactive – repairs, rather than the ad-hoc, expensive and reactive approach we currently have.
“The Andrews Labor Government can’t ignore this any longer, it’s clear we need a plan to bring our regional roads back to an acceptable standard and it’s time for Daniel Andrews to act.”