The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says travelling across his electorate doesn’t require driving skills as much as it demands being an expert slalom skier.
Mr Walsh says so many roads are badly damaged and degraded, the Andrews Labor government’s decision to not deal with the failure of the system is now coming home to roost and the safety of country drivers and passengers is increasingly at risk.
And that, he says, does not begin to take into account the growing cost of damage to cars – especially tyres and wheels.
“The numbers are very plain here – there’s more than 70,000km of roads across regional Victoria that need to be maintained and there’s nowhere near enough money being made available to get the job done,” Mr Walsh says.
“Apart from a few half-baked repairs, the best solution this bankrupt government can come up with to try and cut costs is to lower the speed limit anywhere and everywhere there is a potential traffic hazard – and there are plenty of those,” he says.
“When you think about the billions and billions of taxpayer dollars being blown on cost overruns and failed deadlines for the much-hyped Andrews ‘big build’ anyone could be forgiven if they thought this government does not give a damn about their safety and wellbeing.
“I drove the Prairie-Rochester Rd the other day – and I have driven down a lot of fairly ordinary country roads over the years – and on this occasion you could be taking your life in your own hands. It is in appalling shape and there are some stretches that are genuinely scary and some with absolutely no warning.”
Mr Walsh says you can chart the impotence of the ‘quick fix’ of the majority of running repairs on some roads, with bitumen waves on the sides of roads everywhere, as increasingly heavy traffic, particularly B-doubles and heavy farm machinery, quickly destroys shoddy repair work.
He says if contractors in the real world delivered such shabby results, they would get sacked and sued.
But because it is the government, the issues are being hidden behind media spin, the endemic secrecy which has become the signature feature of the Andrews government and, as a last resort, blame shifting.
“Daniel Andrews has once again fooled the people of Victoria. He keeps promising to repair the messes he is making – and never does,” Mr Walsh added.
“He promised he would fix our healthcare crisis – now all of a sudden it is Canberra’s fault, Medicare’s fault,” he says.
“He promised he would fix the teaching crisis but there is no sign of the magical hundreds of extra teachers promised.
“Even as he axed our Country Roads and Bridges Program, he promised he would ensure the quality of our country roads and now look where that’s landed us.”