The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says an Opposition amendment to the Road Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, that would have re-established the Victorian Parliament’s Road Safety Committee, was last week defeated 16 votes to 16, with two votes from the Justice Party and Animal Justice Party’s Andy Meddick.
Mr Walsh says tragically, far too many Victorians die as a result of traffic accidents on our country roads, with the Andrews Labor Government refusing to acknowledge the role poor road conditions play.
He says that is why the Opposition has launched its three-month campaign to try and identify as many sub-standard roads as possible in regional Victoria.
“To midnight on May 11, 55 lives have been lost on Victorian country roads year to date, up a concerning 38 per cent over the same period last year,” Mr Walsh says.
“Victorian Liberals and Nationals MPs are only too aware of the alarming and unacceptable death toll and vocal in their advocacy for safer country roads,” he says.
“There is no doubt the voting record of minor party regional MPs has been, and still is, a betrayal of their constituents.
“In last week’s vote Tania Maxwell, Stuart Grimley and Andy Meddick utterly betrayed their constituents, by voting to block enhanced parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of Daniel Andrews’ shameful neglect of country roads.”
Mr Walsh says no regional Member can honestly stand up in Parliament and say their constituents think regional roads are safe and up to scratch.
He says to vote down the reinstatement of a committee dedicated to driving down the road toll and fixing regional roads is a blight on any regional politician’s record.
“Regional Victorians are watching our road network crumble before their eyes, while the Andrews Government cuts funding and fails to meet performance targets.”
Mr Walsh says the wasteful spending of the Andrews Government and the impact this was having on regional communities.
He says the Andrews Government has proudly watched $28 billion of taxpayers’ money head down the drain on city infrastructure cost blowouts, while our regions are pleading for just a fraction of that to be invested in the road network.
“This year’s budget saw cuts to road management, a decline in regional roads being treated and cuts across the board to agriculture and regional development – they are a clear and definite message to all regional Victorians,” Mr Walsh says.
“It’s a message we have been getting since 2014 when this government was elected – it doesn’t give a damn about regional Victoria,” he says.
“Country MPs should be backing their communities rather than siding with a completely out of touch, tired and city-centric government that is a drag on Victoria’s yearning to recover and rebuild.”