Federal Member for Gippsland is seeking more than $30 million in road funding to target much-needed upgrades to transport routes in regions impacted by the summer bushfires.
Mr Chester has written to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack proposing a ‘Bushfire Recovery Roads of Strategic Importance’ package which would create jobs and deliver long-term social and economic benefits.
The proposed projects to be included in the $33 million package are:
- Mallacoota-Genoa Road safety upgrade and CBD roadworks: $10 million
- Great Alpine Road safety upgrades and Bruthen/Omeo town roadworks: $5.5 million
- Bonang Highway safety upgrade and road sealing: $7 million
- Nowa Nowa safety upgrades and town roadworks: $800,000
- Lakes Entrance: Highway safety upgrade at both ends of town, and pedestrian safety improvements: $10 million.
“These projects have all been identified as local priorities and unfortunately, no additional funding has been secured at this stage from the State Government which owns the infrastructure,” Mr Chester said.
“I’ve formally written to the Federal Government to get the ball rolling and hopefully I can secure some of the money needed to get work started as a bushfire recovery and regional development initiative. Projects like sealing the remaining sections of the Bonang Highway and upgrading the Mallacoota-Genoa Road will generate jobs in the short term but also boost the visitor economy when travel restrictions are eased.
“Similarly, the Great Alpine Road upgrades are focused on making Bruthen and Omeo more attractive for visitors to stop, and continuing the safety improvements I’ve been able to secure funding for in the past.
“The proposed works in Lakes Entrance are primarily safety initiatives at both ends of town and will build on the amazing transformation we’ve been able to fund along The Esplanade over the past four years.”
Mr Chester said he was confident the Federal Minister would give his plan careful consideration.
“Michael understands the importance of safer regional roads in reducing road trauma and better connecting our local communities, while improving the visitor economy,” Mr Chester said.
These projects have all been identified in my conversations with local residents, council and the business community. If we can secure funding, work can start straight away which would boost the economy as we deal with the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and the coronavirus.”