It has been a summer of discontent in South-West Coast — discontent with the government and its failings on rural and regional roads. We have got potholes forming in potholes and road surfaces crumbling and falling apart. They are dangerous and putting lives at risk. These are roads that people have to use every single day.
They are roads that school buses use. They are roads that carry huge volumes of freight to market — freight that boosts the state’s economy by enormous amounts.
But is this government’s answer to spend money on roads to fix them properly to improve safety for users and efficiencies for farm businesses? No. Instead they spend millions of dollars on wire rope barriers beside the potholes and crumbling surfaces in an effort to improve safety, and when they do attempt to fix a road it falls apart within a matter of weeks. It is illogical and yet another example of stupidity and a lack of common sense from this government.
If you raise legitimate concerns about this policy, you get called names like dingbat or are called a banjo-playing conspiracy theorist. This is completely unbecoming behaviour for a minister of the Crown and shows how this inner-city government views the concerns of rural and regional Victoria. Are all the people who have contacted my office about this issue dingbats? Is the mother worried about not being able to pull her car over safely when her child is sick in the back seat a dingbat? Is the Country Fire Authority captain concerned about a lack of access to roadside grassfires a banjo-playing conspiracy theorist?
The minister must apologise for his disgusting generalisations of regional Victorians as hicks and conspiracy theorists and roll out the wire rope barriers where they are appropriate but not forget to fix the roads first.