My adjournment is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and the action I seek is that the minister take 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.
Despite the project being well on the way in 2014, the past eight years have been plagued by delay after delay on the bypass, with just two blocks of land acquired in that time.
Last year’s budget saw the expected completion of land acquisition blow out by another year, with the previous minister using the excuse of ‘planning work’ for this lengthy delay.
Quite frankly the Kilmore community is sick of the excuses. 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?
Today I received official correspondence from the minister which was dismissive of the community’s urgency for this project and an avoidance of detail.
The minister stated:
“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 …”
Eight years and we are chasing a business case.
How can this be the situation after eight years?
Kilmore is not a suburb of Melbourne, 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.
The Nationals committed to delivering this project if elected to government, and now the Kilmore community faces four more years of delay at a time when the government pours billions into metro infrastructure.
Kilmore is one of the state’s most historically significant towns, but it is bursting at the seams and this inaction is having a considerable impact on the livability of the town.
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.
The town centre smells of exhaust fumes, buildings are crumbling, shops are for lease and the local economy has been strangled by the traffic flow.
Rightly so, there is genuine concern in the community for pedestrian safety, with trucks in town on a narrow main road that is unfit for purpose and unsafe for our community.
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.