Politicians trade barbs over poor state of Colac-Ballarat Road

AFTER years of neglect, the Colac-Ballarat Road looks set to get some attention before the state election in November.

Politicians this week traded barbs over the poor state of the road between Cambrian Hill and Dereel.

Liberal candidate for Buninyong Ben Taylor blamed the sitting member for Ballarat East Geoff Howard for the road’s condition.

“One issue is that you need a good local member who is going to do the work, who’s willing to do the work,” said Mr Taylor, who is running for election a second time. 

“After 15 years the current member is getting a bit tired.”

However, Mr Howard said he raised the issue at least twice in parliament and received no response from the Liberal government, and insisted it had not been brought to his attention while he was part of the former Labor government.

“I have raised it in parliament, and I have ensured that Labor’s shadow minister for roads and Daniel Andrews have visited,” he said. 

“(If we form government) we have committed to putting a billion dollars over eight years into country Victoria’s roads, and I would make sure the Colac-Ballarat Road was  part of this.” 

Mr Howard said it was clear the government knew about the issue because it had funded signs warning of the ‘rough surface’ along the road, “in place of fixing the potholes”. 

Golden Plains Shire mayor Jenny Blake said she had brought the issue up at a VicRoads community meeting last month, but put the blame at the feet of the Bracks and Brumby governments for not keeping the road in shape. 

“The maintenance that was needed 10-15 years ago just wasn’t done,” she said. 

The road is the responsibility of VicRoads, and falls in its Geelong zone. 

In a statement, regional director William Tieppo said potholes were fixed as soon as possible, and potholes and corrugations unable to be fixed promptly had a ‘rough surface’ sign put next to them, in a “generally temporary measure”. 

Residents contacted by The Courier laughed at the suggestion, saying the signs between the Midland Highway turn-off and Enfield had been there for years. 

VicRoads also highlighted $860,000 of shoulder works announced last year by Roads Minister Terry Mulder for the town of Cressy, which falls in his electorate, not Buninyong.

alex.hamer@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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