Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing had been called on to explain why she has voted against more spending on country roads in Gippsland.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said it was astounding that Harriet Shing had opposed a recommendation in a Parliamentary committee inquiry to reinstate the former Coalition Government’s successful $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program.
In debating committee recommendations in the State Government’s rate capping inquiry, Labor members including Ms Shing voted against reinstating this successful program.
“The state of our roads is going backwards under Labor given the government’s 10 per cent cut to the roads maintenance budget and its cutting of the Country Roads and Bridges Program,” Ms Bath said.
“It’s hard to believe that a Member of Parliament that says she’s committed to the country would oppose such an important program being reinstated. We all know our roads need more work not less and the Country Roads and Bridges Program delivered $1 million per annum to each of 40 rural shires to fix road surfaces and bridges.
“It is astounding that Labor’s only representative in Gippsland is more interested in marching to the drum of the factional bosses in Melbourne than representing her electors in country Victoria.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said Labor had poor form on country roads and Ms Shing had confirmed Labor just doesn’t care.
“Not only did they cut the budget this year, they promised to spend $1 billion on country roads over eight years, but it is nowhere to be seen in the budget,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It is vital that roads are maintained at a much better standard for our local residents, industry and business and the tourism industry but Labor has gone missing on this issue.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said The Nationals in Government delivered the Country Roads and Bridges Program because they understood how important this funding was to improving safety and the condition of local roads.
“I am staggered that Ms Shing would oppose such a recommendation and I think she will be judged harshly because of her decision,” Mr Bull said.