THE Victorian Opposition has described South Gippsland’s roads as “incredibly dangerous” during an attack on the State Government last week.
Shadow Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan was in Korumburra last Thursday to inspect the conditions of the local roads.
While in town he also met with South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Jim Fawcett to discuss Labor’s plans to fix regional roads.
During the visit Mr Donnellan said the government had neglected regional roads in favour metropolitan roads.
Gippsland South MP Peter Ryan countered by saying his government is spending $83 million more per year on road maintenance than Labor did in its last year of government.
Mr Donnellan said there’ll be no money left for country roads if the planned $8 billion East West tunnel goes ahead in Melbourne.
“The pot holes on the South Gippsland Highway are getting worse.
“This is something that Peter Ryan and Ken Smith were carrying on about like pork chops when they were in opposition.”
Mr Donnellan said there is a lack of commitment from the government to maintenance in the area and says the “band-aid” approach to repairing the roads is not working.
“They repair the roads and then the bitumen just pops up again,” he said.
“From the turn-off to Leongatha the state of the South Gippsland Highway gets worse the further you drive.
“It’s just incredibly dangerous, especially coming into the holiday season. This is a major road that services the whole area.
“Far too much funding has been committed to the East West tunnel and it is going to starve regional roads.
“The Napthine Government is committing money to it at the exclusion of everything else.”
Mr Donnellan said under Labor’s recently announced ‘Project 10,000’, local roads will be fixed.
He described ‘Project 10,000’ as Labor’s transport alternative to the “dud” $8 billion East West tunnel.
“Project 10,000 will give South Gippsland residents a very clear choice when they go to vote at the 2014 State Election in just under 12 months’ time,” Mr Donnellan said.
“Under Project 10,000, Victorian Labor will guarantee $1 billion in funding for the repair and upgrade of roads in regional communities.
“Over the past three years Victorian Labor has listened to thousands of country Victorians and heard how crumbling country roads affect their everyday lives.
“As a regular visitor to the South Gippsland region I have personally noticed the continued deterioration of major roads.
“South Gippsland taxpayers deserve better value for money and they deserve their money spent on making roads where they live safer.”
“Victorian Labor’s $1 billion of vitally needed road funding will see regional communities receive a consistent, predictable and guaranteed share of the road funding pie.”
He said the commitment would be funded from the Better Roads Victoria Trust Account over eight years and Victorian Labor will confirm in legislation the compulsory payment of traffic camera and speeding fines into this fund.
“Project 10,000 will transform Melbourne and regional Victoria, provide generational change and create ten thousand construction jobs making it one of the largest job creation projects in the state’s history,” he said.
Member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan hit back at the opposition’s claims.
“The roads are in a difficult condition. Eleven years of Labor Government neglect, particularly during the drought period, has now exposed us with the wet weather,” Mr Ryan said.
“So now we have to address it. We have in fact spent $465 million in this budget on road maintenance in Victoria.”