Letters

lifeblood of the country

Since coming to office, the Andrews Labor Government has doubled spending on road maintenance country roads making them safer and stronger. Over the next 12 months VicRoads will be doing more pavement work than it has done in decades, part of our $530 million investment to improve regional roads. In this financial year alone, VicRoads will fix more than 1,400 km of roads across the state. And we’re not just filling pot holes; we’re rebuilding entire sections of some of our most critical links. We're investing $58 million in resurfacing, asphalting, sealing and shoulder repair at more than 100 locations in Western Victoria including sections of the Glenelg Highway between Skipton and Glenthompson, Daylesford - Malmsbury Road at Malmsbury, the Pyrenees Highway, and the Bacchus Marsh-Gisborne Road.  We’re also building the infrastructure that saves lives on rural roads; 1,700 km of wire rope barriers, upgrading road shoulders and widening centre lines on the states most dangerous country roads.

It’s remarkable the Nationals have the nerve to write to this paper about funding to VicRoads. The fact is that the VicRoads maintenance budget was $157 million in the last year of the previous Liberal/National government – this year we have allocated $343.2 million to maintenance.

Whichever way they want to spin it, one thing is clear – the Liberals and Nationals chronically underfunded road maintenance.  By dumping the dud East West Link in the city, we've been able to redirect $690 million  in funding to regional roads upgrades, A decision, I am proud to stand by.  But we will not stop investing in our critical roads infrastructure.

The VicRoads’ senior leadership team have toured country Victoria, talking to locals about how they can better plan, build, manage and maintain the 19,000 kilometres of country arterial roads. VicRoads have acknowledged that they can do more to explain how the roads are built, what might cause them to fail, and what it takes to repair them and support a better future. Victorians deserve roads they can rely on, and this investment will make sure the roads are safer and more reliable than ever before.

Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads.