Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has written to the Victorian Premier for a third time to urge the State Government to allocate its share of the funding needed to complete the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale.
On the eve of the state budget, Mr Chester has written to Premier Daniel Andrews to again urge the State Government announce its $33 million share of the $165 project to duplicate the highway at Flynn and Kilmany.
“I am extremely disappointed with your government’s failure to commit Victoria’s $33 million share of the funding required for the final two stages of the highway duplication project,” Mr Chester wrote.
“This inaction has stalled the highest priority road project in the state’s east and lives are endangered as traffic must still travel in a single lane at Flynn and Kilmany.”
Mr Chester said he was shocked by the 86 percent increase in the number of lives lost on roads outside Melbourne so far this year compared to last year.
“We need to act now to prevent the loss of more deaths and a crucial element of that is ensuring our highways and roads are as safe as possible. Completing the duplication project will save lives,” Mr Chester said.
Mr Chester has also called on the Premier to announce State Government funding for phase two of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID), worth a total of $62 million.
“I secured $31 million from the Federal Government for this important project in February,” Mr Chester said. “An announcement from the Victorian Government about its financial contribution to this project on budget day next week would be timely.
“I was heartened by the Premier’s comments on Sunday that he was prepared to partner with the Coalition Government to deliver good projects for Victoria.
“Both the Princes Highway duplication and the MID modernisation are key infrastructure projects for Gippsland.
“A better, safer highway will reduce road trauma and save lives. There are local job opportunities during construction, benefits for the visitor economy by improving access to our region, and productivity gains for the transport sector and local industries.
“The MID modernisation project will support more efficient irrigation practices and a strong future for the agricultural sector and the communities that rely on that strength.
“This next phase of the project will save and reinvest up to 10GL of water back into the rural economy, secure the Newry and Stratford supply networks, boost Gippsland’s output of milk and food, and reduce nutrient discharges to local waterways.
“The time is now, Mr Andrews, to show your support for all Gippslanders and work with us to help deliver these important projects by announcing your government’s share of the money needed to get the job done.”