The Nationals Member for Euroa, Annabelle Cleeland has slammed Labor’s Government’s decision to slash road maintenance funding, fearing it will have a “devastating consequence” to regional communities.
Road maintenance funding has decreased from $702.2 million to just $441.6 million in the last year alone, despite the dire state of Victoria’s regional road network.
This follows a concerning trend, with Labor first making cuts to the road maintenance budget back in 2015.
Ms Cleeland said the road funding cuts would have devastating consequences on communities, with 124 deaths on Victorian roads reported in 2023 so far, up a shocking 30 per cent on this time last year.
Ms Cleeland said flood affected roads were still desperately needing repair too, particularly in areas within the Euroa electorate.
A Federal Standing Committee on regional development, infrastructure and transport held an inquiry just last week on the impact that severe weather had on regional, rural and remote roads across the country.
During this meeting, Ms Cleeland said it was estimated there was at least $6 million worth of damage to road infrastructure in the Mitchell Shire alone.
Ms Cleeland said cutting funding from road maintenance was irresponsible and represented the amount of care that the Labor Government has for regional Victoria.
“Roads in regional Victoria are still in desperate need of attention,” Ms Cleeland said.
“They needed fixing before the October floods and now the issue has only gotten worse. Cutting funding from something so necessary just goes to show how out of touch this Labor Government is with the needs of regional Victoria.
“The road toll continues to rise, with far more deaths on our roads than previous years. We should be doing what we can to help prevent this issue, and it starts with the quality and safety of our roads.”
Claims made to Regional Roads Victoria and VicRoads have also been facing considerable delays, with impacted drivers unable to receive assistance or compensation within a reasonable timeframe.
Ms Cleeland said constituents had raised several concerns with the claims process, with some individuals waiting upwards of four months to receive compensation after suffering damage to their vehicles while travelling on the neglected roads.
“The wait times that people are going through are simply unacceptable,” Ms Cleeland said.
“How can we expect this to improve when the Labor Government is slashing funding for our road network?”