Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has called out the funding limitations placed on weather-effected roads, saying that money must be allocated to allow for the betterment of the Victoria’s regional road network.
A federal inquiry into the implications of severe weather events on the national regional, rural and remote road network revealed the dire state of Victorian roads and the limitations of the funding available to impacted areas.
In the inquiry, Mitchell Shire estimated that $6 million of damage had occurred to their road infrastructure alone and that there was no scope for betterment in the repairs, meaning that roads were only being repaired to their previous state.
Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) are currently shared between both Federal and State Government, with funds provided to impacted councils and catchment management authorities.
Ms Cleeland said broadening the scope for the funding to include betterment would be beneficial for everyone.
“Unfortunately, our regional roads are going backwards,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We’ve seen the effect that severe weather has had on these roads, particularly those in areas impacted October’s floods.
“The truth is that these roads were already in a poor state before this, and the funding is only allowing them to return to this condition. It’s time to make actual improvements to these roads and increase the scope of disaster recovery funds to allow for betterment.”
Ms Cleeland’s calls follow the Labor Government’s announcement of further cuts to Victoria’s road maintenance funding, with 45 per cent, or $380 million, slashed from the budget since 2020.
On top of the funding being slashed, a proposed inquiry into the poor state of Victoria’s roads, particularly in rural and regional Victoria, was blocked by the Andrews Government in parliament this week.
“We know safer roads, save lives, but instead of looking at the facts, Labor chose to shut down debate and block the establishment of an inquiry into Victorian roads,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Cutting funding from something so necessary just goes to show how out of touch this Labor Government is with the needs of regional Victoria.”