Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the Mallacoota-Genoa Road is not fit for purpose, and was endangering the lives of locals and visitors.
Mr Chester has proposed a $10 million funding boost for the road which was closed for six weeks after last summer’s bushfires due to burnt trees and debris impacting the road corridor.
“The road surface is poor, the corridor is too narrow and very little funding has been provided to upgrade this State Government-owned asset for the past 20 years,” Mr Chester said.
“Given the State Government refuses to invest in the road, I’ve submitted a plan to the Federal Government which would improve safety, increase the resilience of the road in future disasters, and boost the visitor economy.
“The road requires a significant improvement, not just maintenance, to bring it up to an acceptable standard.
“The road surface needs to be improved, some corners need to be realigned and the road corridor should be widened as much as possible, in consultation with the local community.
“We need to build a better, safer and more resilient transport link between the highway and the coast for the benefit of locals and visitors. If there is another natural disaster, we must be able to maintain vehicle access to Mallacoota, Gypsy Point and other communities.
“The project has the support of the Mallacoota and District Recovery Association as one of the key bushfire recovery initiatives needed in the region.”
Mr Chester said he was aware of preliminary plans by Regional Roads Victoria and East Gippsland Shire Council to undertake road shoulder widening, general safety upgrades, hazard removal and safety barrier installations, as well as streetscape enhancements in Mallacoota.
“I want the Federal Government to take the lead and provide $10 million as nothing will happen without a major funding commitment. I am expecting the Victorian Government and East Gippsland Shire to also support this project,” Mr Chester said.
“Mallacoota was the community most adversely impacted by the summer bushfires and the road safety improvements would enhance the resilience of this key access route in emergency situations, as well as delivering economic benefits through the visitor economy.”