SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt has welcomed the Victorian Liberal-National Coalition’s promise to restore the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program if elected in November.
Under the program, which was axed by the Labor Government in 2014, South Gippsland, along with 39 other rural Victorian shires, would receive $1 million in grants each year over four years to help restore and rehabilitate council-maintained roads and bridges.
Cr Brunt says the funding boost would allow the council to move forward in replacing aging infrastructure and upgrading roads from gravel to seals.
“We’ve got about 3000km of roads in South Gippsland and in a rate-capped environment, you can’t just go and put up rates to raise that money that’s needed to keep the roads safe and in good condition,” Ms Brunt said.
“One million dollars would be enormous. It’s a lovely amount of money, which we’ve really missed. We need it to help us with our local roads.”
Nationals MP for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien and Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure David Hodgett met with Ms Brunt in Leongatha recently, with Mr O’Brien saying the state of South Gippsland’s roads was “the number one thing” raised with him in the electorate, and that restoring the Country Roads and Bridges Program would be a “shot in the arm” for South Gippsland.
“It’ll make our communities, like Korumburra, Foster and Leongatha, more liveable and it will support jobs in our region,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Brien said people rural Victoria are “over-represented” in the road toll and that the Country Roads and Bridges Program would “give rural Victorians the safe and reliable infrastructure they deserve”.