The Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has invited the Minister for Roads to visit Kilmore in Parliament after a request to receive a briefing on the progress of the Kilmore bypass from the Department of Transport was rejected.
Speaking from Parliament, Ms Cleeland said it was astounding the lack of work the government has put into progressing the bypass.
“Eight years and we are chasing a business case. How can this be the situation after eight years?” Ms Cleeland said.
“How can the West Gate Tunnel, a project expected to cost well over $10 billion, take just two years to plan while a simple yet essential piece of regional infrastructure takes eight years to buy just two plots of land?
“Kilmore is not a suburb of Melbourne and nor does anyone who lives there want to make it one.
“People live in a town like Kilmore because they want to escape Melbourne and enjoy the lifestyle in regional Victoria.
“They should not have to crawl through the gridlock of Sydney Street every single day because the Andrews government has sat on their hands for the past eight years.”
With eight years and virtually nothing to show Ms Cleeland said Kilmore residents were sceptical the bypass would ever be built by the Andrews Government.
“With so much growth in the region, trucks constantly roaring down Sydney Road and congestion unimaginable for a country town, Kilmore residents are fatigued and have all but given up on progress under this government,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The failure to progress this project is not anything to do with complex planning requirements or an onerous land acquisition process; this bypass has not been built purely because of a lack of government willpower.
“There is genuine distrust within the community that this government is capable of delivering the Kilmore bypass.”
Despite refusing to provide a briefing the Minister disclosed:
‘I am informed that the Department of Transport and Planning is working to identify the appropriate planning pathway to reserve land for stage 1. I am further informed the next step would be the preparation of a business case for the project.’
Ms Cleeland has formally invited the Minister to Kilmore, an invitation she must accept or decline in writing within 30 days.
“The action I seek is that the minister takes a trip up the Hume to Kilmore to meet with me, community members and businesses impacted by the government’s failure to progress the Kilmore bypass,” Ms Cleeland said.