Regional lives are at risk with the Labor Government falling 25 per cent short of its road repair target, as revealed this week in the Department of Transport and Planning’s latest annual report.
The report states that the Government only treated 9 million square metres of rural and regional roads – 25.6 per cent down on its 2022-23 target of 12.14 million square metres – but hit its targets in suburban roads.
Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland said the failure to meet this target was a consequence of ongoing cuts to the road maintenance budget.
“Regional Victorians don’t need an annual report to tell them Labor has abandoned our crumbling roads. They see it every day,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Our regional roads are in an appalling state and a 45 per cent cut to the road maintenance budget since 2020, including a further 25 per cent cut in this year’s budget, is hurting Victorian motorists.
“We know our roads are in a dire state, yet this tired Labor Government is cutting road maintenance funding and falling short of its own road repair target. It beggars belief.”
In August, it was also revealed there would be virtually no Victorian road resurfacing program in the coming financial year with no contracts for road resurfacing going to tender.
Ms Cleeland said this only signals that regional roads will continue to deteriorate.
“Drivers can no longer drive on the left side of the road, they have to drive on what is left of the road,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Without a sufficient resurfacing and resealing program that can meet appropriate targets, the deterioration of our roads will only accelerate.
“The budget papers released in May listed the road area to be resurfaced across metropolitan and regional Victoria as ‘tbc’. It seems they just meant ‘terribly bad condition’.”
In her most recent Euroa Cooee newsletter, Ms Cleeland asked members of the community to tell her about the worst roads in their town.
“The responses talked of potholes, crumbling roadsides and compromised surfaces,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Roads continue to be one of the biggest concerns of my constituents and make up a majority of the issues brought to the attention of me and my office.
“There were very few roads that weren’t mentioned, but sections of the Midland Highway and the Goulburn Valley Highway were repeat offenders.
“These roads are causing problems for commuters, the transport industry, and visitors to our region.
“While the floods have certainly been a contributing factor to the deterioration, the lack of funding to maintain and repair roads is the real culprit.”