The Victorian Nationals have urged the Allan Labor Government to ensure that previously earmarked federal funding for a new Swan Hill bridge is retained.
Three years ago, $60 million was allocated by the Commonwealth Government for a new bridge, but that funding is now at risk of being caught up with the Federal Government’s 90-day infrastructure review – which is now closer to 180 days.
Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said a new bridge was needed to create more efficient transport routes and cater for expanding agriculture and horticulture industries in the region.
“Heavy transport vehicles are severely impeded in crossing the Murray River at Swan Hill, often facing traffic delays and size limitations,” Mr Walsh said.
“The region produces significant quantities of almonds, annual crops and livestock and it’s vital that these are transported to market in a timely manner.
“The Allan Labor Government must step up and retain the federal funding for this important project.”
Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Gaelle Broad raised the issue in Parliament yesterday, saying the historic 1896 bridge was a key border crossing between NSW and Victoria, but was no longer fit for purpose.
“Anyone who has driven over it will agree that a new bridge is needed. It’s a single lane, and there are load limits that restrict transport, particularly heavy transport vehicles,” Ms Broad said.
Ms Broad asked what the Minister was doing to advocate for Victoria and provide certainty of funding for this key piece of infrastructure.
“It’s costing more than $1 million a year to maintain the bridge. After 50 years it remains a priority and locals are tired of waiting.”