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Local MP Darren Chester says the busy commercial heart of Maffra will be safer when Wellington Shire’s $3.3 million streetscape renewal project is complete.

Mr Chester said work along the southern service lane of Johnson Street, funded with $1 million from the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery Program, was finished. Work on the northern side is continuing.

“Maffra is fortunate to have one of Gippsland’s most beautiful main streets,” Mr Chester said. “The work to renew the footpath, road surface and pedestrian crossing has created a safer and more user-friendly streetscape for drivers and shoppers, while also enhancing its attractiveness.”

The work along Johnson Street was among Wellington Shire’s priority road safety projects. The municipality has recently received a $327,000 million payment from the Federal Government to improve the safety of more local roads, part of almost $19 million Wellington will receive under the Roads to Recovery Program over four years to 2023-24.

Mr Chester said Wellington was among 234 municipalities to share more than $77 million paid this quarter for safer, better roads.

“It’s a sad fact that a disproportionate number of people are killed on rural roads and for many years I have campaigned for projects that improve road safety across Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.

“This additional money will provide the council with the opportunity and means to further improve roads around Wellington. There are projects underway, projects ready to start and others already completed.

“Wellington Shire has completed 31 projects with funding from the Roads to Recovery Program last financial year. The projects improved the condition and safety of local roads and will help ensure the municipality is well-connected.

“While the Roads to Recovery Program is designed to help our councils to maintain local roads, such a significant investment in maintaining and upgrading our transport infrastructure provides a welcome injection of Federal Government money into the local economy to support Gippsland contractors and suppliers and local jobs.”

Wellington’s road safety projects for this financial year include:

$1.5 million for the Sale-Toongabbie Road (between Bowmans Lane and the Rosedale-Heyfield Road) at Winnindoo

$850,000 for Guthridge Parade (between Montgomery Parade and Stevens Street), Sale

$700,000 for Ingles Road, Devon North, and

$500,000 for Dukes Road (between Commercial Road and Growse Street), Yarram.

Assistant Minister for the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the Federal Government had committed an additional $100 million per year to the Roads to Recovery Program from 2019–20, as part of the Local and State Government Road Safety Package announced in the 2019–20 Budget.

“From 2013–14 to 2023–24, the government will provide $6.2 billion under the Roads to Recovery Program, with an ongoing commitment of $500 million each year following,” Mr Hogan said.

“We are investing in infrastructure nationwide in order to lay the foundations for economic recovery on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.”

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