Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says Daniel Andrews and his Messer of Roads Melissa Horne can no longer pretend they are doing “even a half-decent job” of protecting Victorians on regional roads.
Mr Walsh says with the state’s highest road toll in seven years, and with more than half those tragedies on regional and rural roads, “the figures prove both the lie this incompetent government cares about regional Victoria and that it takes road safety seriously”.
He says the road toll stands at 191 – that’s up 23.2 per cent on last year.
“Sadly 108 of those deaths have been on our roads, on regional and country roads, compared with 88 at the same time in 2022,” Mr Walsh added.
“Yet regional Victoria accounts for barely a quarter of the state’s population so these figures are even worse, if you could imagine that,” he says.
“Things are getting so bad, police from around Australia, and New Zealand, are coming together on September 14 to focus on Victoria’s road toll in a desperate bid to stem the carnage at the direct request of Chief Commissioner Shane Patton.
“At the same time acting Deputy Commissioner Glenn Weir has been very public with the ‘significant concern’ of police about the numbers heading in the wrong way.”
Mr Walsh adds there is no doubt in his mind “the appalling and deteriorating” condition of regional and rural roads “is playing its deadly part in this unfolding disaster”.
He says the rolling five-year average stands at 81 deaths on country roads, compared with 69 in the metropolitan area.
“Everyone has been asking for our road network to be repaired, an appeal made more urgent by the extensive flood damage across northern Victoria,” Mr Walsh says.
“Those appeals have turned to pleas and all we get from the Andrews Labor government is silence – a clear message of disinterest and disdain from Daniel Andrews and Melissa Horne,” he says.
“This isn’t another inquiry Daniel Andrews can refuse to attend. He can’t say he knows nothing about it or can’t remember – his usual defence – either.
“If there was a gold medal in total incompetence at the Commonwealth Games, Daniel Andrews would be guaranteed victory – except that was another lie and he ran our Games’ dream off the road as well.”