Gippsland drivers pay for Labor’s Transurban deal

Gippsland motorists can’t get local pot holes fixed, but Daniel Andrews is shamelessly forcing them to pay for his West Gate Tunnel deal.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said drivers travelling to Melbourne via CityLink will be financially hit after the Andrews Labor Government signed a secretive deal with Transurban that will increase tolls to pay for a completely different new road – the West Gate Tunnel.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report into the West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls which estimates the deal struck by the Andrews Labor Government will cost motorists an extra $37.3 billion in tolls.

The analysis shows that $26.5 billion of that increase (around 71 per cent) will come exclusively from CityLink users.  This includes Latrobe Valley drivers who use the tollway when travelling to the city via the Monash Freeway.

“Our local country roads are in appalling condition due to funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government yet the arrogant Premier for Melbourne is making us help pay for his new Melbourne tunnel.

“We can’t even get our crumbling country roads properly fixed, but under Daniel Andrews’ sneaky deal with Transurban, we’ll be forced to pay for city infrastructure we aren’t even using.

“This is hugely unfair, especially when Latrobe Valley roads are falling into disrepair.

“Major country arterials such as Glengarry West and Brown Coal Mine Roads running between Glengarry and Yallourn North are in serious need of repair and are being left to crumble.

“If country people are going to be further slugged for roads then the Premier could at least invest in repairs to our Gippsland regional road network.

“It is gobsmacking that Daniel Andrews is arrogantly slugging country drivers to pay for his Melbourne tunnel deal.”

Labor has axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program and slashed hundreds of thousands more from VicRoads country maintenance budget.

Last year Labor MPs refused to support a Liberal Nationals’ amendment to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill that would have increased funding for country roads.

Melina Bath said the cost of doing business will skyrocket as a result of Labor’s deal.

“Commercial vehicles already pay higher tolls, so any movement of fresh produce or freight that goes across the state via Melbourne will also cost more.  A third commercial category will also be unfairly added under this new deal,” Ms Bath said.

“The last thing farmers and regional businesses need is escalating costs, but that’s exactly what the Premier for Melbourne’s dodgy Transurban deal delivers.”