The Victorian Roads Minister’s failure to announce funding today to complete the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale will disappoint Gippslanders, says Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
Mr Chester said today’s visit was an ideal opportunity for Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford to announce the Victorian Government’s $33 million share of the $165 million required to complete the final two stages.
“Gippslanders just want to see the duplication project finished. They want a better, safer Princes Highway, which is good for drivers, good for productivity and good for the economic prosperity of our region,” Mr Chester said.
“The Federal Government announced its 80 percent share – $132 million – to duplicate the last 12 kilometres in May last year.
“The project has stalled since work on the first nine stages wrapped up at the end of last year. There’s a four-kilometre section at Flynn and an eight-kilometre section at Kilmany left unfinished as the Victorian Government delays allocating its share of the money needed.
“The Princes Highway duplication project is the highest road safety priority east of Melbourne. It has received bipartisan support since it began in 2010, yet Minister Pulford, who was here today to talk about other works along the highway, had nothing for the duplication project.
“My concern is we are going to see avoidable loss of life and serious injuries unless the State Government comes to the party and funds the last $33 million needed.
“Without a funding announcement, Minister Pulford’s visit to Gippsland is a waste of time and a big disappointment for all Gippslanders.
“The Princes Highway is owned by Victoria. That means the project can’t go ahead without the state’s involvement.
“I just can’t understand why the State Government can’t find $33 million dollars when the Federal Government has had its money on the table for 10 months.”
The first nine sections of the duplication project were funded with $210 million from the Australian Government and $50 million from the Victorian Government.