Adjournment debate: Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and the action I seek is for the minister to meet with residents and travel along Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road to see for himself the atrocious state of this important truck route.

Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road is a 50-kilometre, B-double-gazetted major arterial truck route, which
is a vital link to the port of Portland as well as being utilised regularly by grain trucks and daily by
milk tankers as well school buses and local traffic.

In fact if you Google ‘Melbourne to Portland’, the route takes you along the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road rather than the Princes Highway.

Yet despite calls from upset residents in the Broadwater and Bessiebelle areas over many, many years for
upgrades, long stretches remain single lane and are riddled with potholes and poor surfaces, and the
shoulders are just amazing in how hard they drop off.

There have been numerous serious accidents along this dangerous and dilapidated road. Despite this,
there are no major upgrades to make the entire road a double lane.

Over the past seven years I have written to the various road ministers advocating for the government to take proper action on the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road. The answer I have received every time is the same: the road will be monitored and the upgrades considered in future funding rounds, blah, blah.

Residents get the same answer when they raise the issue with Regional Roads Victoria: that the road is constantly monitored and inspected. It is mind-numbing.

But to force B-double trucks that meet on that road to pass on potholed and dangerous shoulders is unacceptable – let alone how the bus driver feels when they are passing the school bus.

Instead of proper investment, the answer has been as predictable as it is insipid. The speed limit was
reduced to 60 kilometres an hour in 2018, while ‘Rough edges’ signs have been placed on sections of
the road for much, much longer.

Reducing speeds on our rural and regional roads rather than investing in proper upgrades and maintenance is a hallmark of this government, but it is not and never will be the solution.

It should not take fatal accidents for this government to take action. How many accidents are needed? How many fatalities are needed on this Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road to have a dual carriageway?

Years of constant lobbying from angry and fearful residents should not repeatedly fall on deaf ears.

Minister, I urge you to be the one with the fortitude to fix this problem and fix it properly, unlike the
many ministers before you who have stood up and taken no action.

The Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road users should not have to play Russian roulette with their livelihoods and their lives.

To hear the minister in question time deliver a ministerial statement bragging about how much work they have done the roads was the reason I stood up, called him out and got kicked out.

But it was absolutely impossible for me to sit there and listen to that bragging. I ask the minister: come with me, jump in my car and I will take you on this road. You will not believe your eyes.