More detail needed about regional roads body

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says more information in needed about Daniel Andrew’s plan to create a dedicated regional roads body.

Mrs Britnell said it was vital the organisation was effective and accountable and did not just become another level of bureaucracy without results and a financial burden on the taxpayer.

“If this is the best way to improve country roads, fantastic – but there needs to be some more information about how it will work and how much it will cost,” Mrs Britnell said.

“If it’s going to cost significant money to establish and run, we need to consider if that money would be better spent actually fixing roads.”

Mrs Britnell said the announced Fixing Country Roads fund was playing catch-up and short-changed rural councils by $60 million.

“The Liberal Nationals have committed to return the $160m Country Roads and Bridges fund which was axed by Daniel Andrews when he came to Government, leaving a $4 million hole in council budgets.

“Local mayors have welcomed our commitment to return the $160 million fund, so it is disappointing that Daniel Andrews has failed to listen and fully match that pledge.

“The country roads and bridges fund guarantees councils $1 million a year and to set their own priorities for their local road network, Daniel Andrews needs to explain how his grants program is better.”

Mrs Britnell said she was cautiously optimistic about a budget boost for regional roads, saying the announcement proved relentless community lobbying has shamed the government to action.

She also repeated her call for greater accountability in road repair works.

“We’ve seen right across our region recently completed work falling apart after a short amount of time.

“We need to ensure this money is being spent in the right areas and works are done right the first time. Checks and balances need to happen and if the job is not up to scratch – payments need to be withheld.

“We bat above our average when it comes to our economic contribution and roads play an important role in that, Daniel Andrews and Labor have been shamed into recognising our significant contribution, and I’ll continue to hold this government to account to ensure we get bang for our buck with this cash splash.”

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