Apr 10, 2024 | Building Safer Roads, Latest News, News

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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he ‘can’t get a straight answer’ from Transport Minister Catherine King as a series of road safety projects across the region have stalled due to a lack of Commonwealth funding.

Mr Chester has accused Minister King of repeatedly ignoring requests for information on the Princes Highway corridor program, which was established under the previous Coalition Government.

“It’s been almost two years since Minister King took on this role, and she hasn’t started a single major road project in Gippsland during that time,” Mr Chester said.

“The final stages of the duplication between Traralgon and Sale were fully funded by the previous government, and all other projects have been put on hold because this incompetent Minister can’t make a decision.

“I have repeatedly asked the Minister to provide an update on priority projects that were funded prior to the last election, but she simply ignores my letters.”

Mr Chester said Victoria had been allocated $300 million in 2019 for priority Princes Highway works under the corridor plan, with the State Government required to provide 20% additional funding to complete the work.

“When the Coalition left office, there was still more than $100 million in that funding program, but we can’t get a straight answer on when works will start on priority projects like the Sale alternative route, McEacharn St roundabout in Bairnsdale and intersections in Lakes Entrance,” Mr Chester said.

“The Minister wasted more than 200 days on a review she claimed would take 90 days and has since announced that all future projects would require 50-50 funding, which is another cut for regional roads.

“The State Government has cut road maintenance funding, and the Federal Government has not provided any new money for capital works, so the Princes Highway is falling into a dangerous state of disrepair.

“At a time when road deaths and trauma are increasing across Victoria, it is staggering that we are not seeing a focus on improving the condition of the road network to save lives and reduce serious injuries.”

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