State Labor is ‘bizarre and unhinged’ to be blaming the Federal Government for not providing enough funding to complete the stalled Princes Highway duplication project between Traralgon and Sale, according to local MP Darren Chester.
The Federal Member for Gippsland was reacting to an answer provided in State Parliament by Transport Minister Jacinta Allen, who claimed the project had failed to proceed because “the $132 million committed by the Federal Government towards completing the remaining sections of the project are insufficient”.
“It is bizarre and completely unhinged logic to try to blame the Federal Government for work stopping when the State Government owns the road and hasn’t allocated a single dollar to finish the last two sections at Flynn and Kilmany,” Mr Chester said.
“Under the agreed policy, the Federal Government provided 80% of the funding for the first nine sections of the project and we committed $132 million two years ago because that was the cost estimate provided by the State Government for our share of these last two sections.
“If there’s been a cost blowout it’s because we didn’t get the work started in 2018 when the State Government failed to provide its 20%.
“The State Minister should stop looking for someone else to blame and tell us what the actual cost is in 2020 and if I need to secure more Federal Government funding I will go to Canberra and fight hard to make the case for this critical project.”
Mr Chester also challenged State Labor Upper House MP Harriet Shing to support his efforts to secure State Government funding.
“It’s a pity Harriet Shing won’t help us fight for funding for a project that will save lives, create jobs and deliver long-term economic productivity benefits,” Mr Chester said.
“Ms Shing has been completely silent on the issue and refuses to even lobby the Minister or Premier to secure the State Government’s 20% share of the project.”