SHADOW Minister for Roads and Infrastructure and Deputy Leader of the Victorian Liberal Party David Hodgett rolled into Leongatha in a cattle truck last week to experience South Gippsland’s roads first hand.
In the driver’s seat for Hodgett’s journey from Welshpool to Leongatha on Thursday was Toora-based truck driver Stuart Storr, who was well-placed to point out where there’d been fatalities and issues with the road.
“People can tell you about road conditions but nothing compares to actually jumping in a truck and hearing from a transport operator who drives those roads every day,” said Mr Hodgett, who described some sections of the road as looking like a “patchwork quilt”.
“Particularly of concern is where roadworks are going on and roads have been fixed but the culverts or the drains haven’t been done and water’s sitting on the road and it’s deteriorating even further.
“So you’ve got to ask about who’s overseeing these contracts to make sure that that’s done properly.
“There’s no point in throwing money at an issue and then having to come back and fix it again months later,” he said.
There to meet the truck in Leongatha was Gippsland South’s Nationals MP Danny O’Brien and a number of Gippsland transport operators, including Stuart Evans of Evans Petroleum.
The group engaged a roundtable discussion on issues facing the transport industry and while no big commitments were made on the day, Mr O’Brien said they were “in listening mode” and in the process of developing policies.