Tyers Latrobe River Bridge replacement

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (20:25): My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and it relates to the reconstruction of the Latrobe River bridge. This bridge was built in 1936 and crosses, naturally, between the two towns of Tyers and Traralgon and connects them. Tyers is a gorgeous little town just north of Traralgon, and Traralgon therefore is its major centre for education, shopping, medical appointments, infrastructure and employment. It is a very important bridge. Between 2012 and 2018 six people were injured in car accidents on the curves to both the north and the south of the bridge, and sadly there was one fatality where a family lost a loved one.

When I first came into this place in 2015 the Andrews government had abolished a very popular initiative of The Nationals and the Liberals called the country roads and bridges program. It replaced it with a stronger country bridges program. What happened with that was there were 48 bridges designated, apparently, one would think, in country areas. But there was only one in Gippsland, and there are about 700 bridges in Gippsland that could be replaced. The one happened to be in this position between Traralgon and Tyers. This one bridge was announced in 2015 and it went to tender in 2017. Not only that but, on the importance of upgrading this, it is used by the mining industry and the forestry sectors. It needs to be upgraded to increase that load-bearing capacity. In 2017 it was designated and tendered. We are still waiting for it today.

With recent floods in the valley, we knew that the old bridge was under threat through the floods, so they closed that bridge. It remains closed now. If you want to go between Tyers and Traralgon, you actually have to go either by Morwell or by Glengarry—some considerable time out of your way. A CFA volunteer from the Tyers brigade the other day said that they actually had had to do that, and it could have caused some considerable concern when they were attending a fire. This government needs to provide this bridge. It is very simple. It has been budgeted for, supposedly. It has been tendered as well—2015, 2017, we are up to 2021. Minister, I want you to tell the constituents of the Latrobe Valley when that bridge infrastructure will be built, and I want a time line for them for the completion date.