The Nationals Member for Euroa has formally written to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety seeking an official briefing from the Department of Transport on the status of the Kilmore Bypass.
The 2022-23 Victorian Budget showed another year had been added to the expected completion date of the land acquisition process, now not expected to be completed until mid-2024.
In response to questioning at Parliament’s Budget Estimates hearing the Department of Transport indicated only two blocks of land had been acquired as of June 2022 despite multi-billion dollar projects in Melbourne completing larger scale acquisitions in just a matter of years.
Ms Cleeland said the Kilmore community had the right to know the status of the crucial project.
“The Kilmore community has put up with eight years of delay on the bypass with patience on the ground in very short supply,” Ms Cleeland said.
“I’m seeking a status update from the Department of Transport and will be very vocal in ensuring this project doesn’t continue to fall by the wayside.
“Originally land acquisition was expected to be completed in just a couple of months’ time and now mid-2024 is the best we can hope for.
“With the budget coming up later this year I want the government to be honest, provide an official update, explain the delays and provide clarity to the frustrated and fatigued residents of Kilmore.”
Ms Cleeland expressed disappointment about the mismanagement of the Kilmore Bypass when compared with major city infrastructure.
“It’s incredibly disheartening for our region when we see billions and billions of dollars spent on more city infrastructure while we get delays, excuses and can’t see progress on a simple regional bypass,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The case for the bypass is clear, the liveability of the town and the local economy is impacted by every year of inaction.
“We have one of Victoria’s most historically significant towns crumbling because of this inaction.
“In contrast the Andrews Government is happy to put $35 billion towards an unnecessary metro Box Hill to Cheltenham rail line.
“The bypass has stalled, not because of a lack of funding or a difficult planning process, purely due to a lack of willpower from the government.
“The bypass is my number one priority for Kilmore and I will be fervently holding the government to account.”