The Andrews Government with the help of the cross bench blocked an Inquiry investigating the poor state of roads, particularly in rural and regional Victoria.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Regional, Melina Bath who strongly endorsed of the motion said with Labor voting against an Inquiry into road construction, repair, maintenance and road safety, Victorians missed an opportunity to have their say on our vital road networks.
“Since 2020 – the Andrews Government has cut 45 per cent from the roads maintenance budget, ripping $380 million from the budget,” said Ms Bath.
“State government funding is lower today than it was in 2014 despite inflation rising and CPI increasing 27.2 points during this time.
“Under Labor, Victoria is broke, and our roads are going backwards as a result.
“The Andrews Government’s legacy on roads is a hazardous mess of cuts to road safety and less funding for maintenance to ensure drivers are driving on safe roads in regional Victoria.
“Our roads are crumbling, a mess of dangerous potholes and hazards, risking the lives of country Victorian drivers every single day.
“Across eastern Victoria region there is a plethora of unsafe state owned roads that locals regularly raise with my office.”
Ms Bath said an Inquiry was needed to review the state of our roads and chart a way forward to improve road surface quality and lifespan.
“This is a real issue that needed investigating especially when the government’s own Transport Department found “significantly accelerated deterioration” across the network after a study of 8400km of road.
“Tragically 134 lives have been lost on Victorian roads this year to date* – a rise of 38.1 percent on last year.
“Unsurprisingly a disproportionate 58 per cent of all road deaths occurred on our regional roads in 2023 – this statistic alone lends itself to further investigation of roads and road safety.
“Improving the quality and durability of our regional roads is essential to creating safer and more efficient networks for primary producers, businesses, families, and communities.
“We know safer roads, save lives, but instead of allowing the facts to be examined, Labor chose to shut down debate and block the establishment of an Inquiry into Victorian roads.
* as at 31 May 2023