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29 October 2019

Members Statement: Rural and Regional Roads

Over the long parliamentary break the Premier and the Minister for Roads popped up in the suburbs to talk about roads, trumpeting a massive maintenance blitz and making it sound like they had finally come to the party and put in some extra cash to work on getting roads back to an acceptable standard.

Unfortunately not.

It was funding already listed in the budget papers, and the announcement was just a stunt. Recently a constituent came in to my office to ask what specifications the 150 000 potholes highlighted in the press release would be repaired to and if the number included potholes being repaired several times. He wanted to know what guarantees would be in place to ensure these repairs would stand the test of time.

He, like many others, is sick and tired of seeing repairs fail after weeks because of cut corners and reduced specifications. This is typical of what I hear in the south-west daily. People are sceptical of any work being done because they have seen repairs fall apart after a few weeks.

Rather than reannounce funding, the government should have made an announcement that they would be adopting the recommendations of the Auditor-General, who in 2017 reported that the approach to road maintenance in Victoria was reactive rather than proactive and had no plan or strategy.

The government can claim all it wants that it is fixing country roads, but the fact is people in rural and regional Victoria are not seeing the results, because the government has no plan and no strategy and is reactive rather than proactive when it comes to maintaining rural Victorian roads.