A State Government Inquiry has heard Gippsland’s ratepayers are wearing the costs of the Andrews Labor Government’s cuts to country roads funding after one of Daniel Andrews’ first actions as Premier was to axe the Liberal-Nationals’ successful Country Roads and Bridges Program.
The parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability and Operational Challenges of Victoria’s Rural and Regional Councils has heard that country councils are struggling to meet the high costs of maintaining their roads network.
In relation to local input into the inquiry, the Wellington and East Gippsland Shires reported that they manage 3078 and 2895 kilometres of roads respectively.
This is a disproportionately large amount of infrastructure to maintain compared to their city counterparts, but with significantly lower income streams. The average rural and regional councils manages an average of 2200km of roads – more than four times that of city-based councils, the inquiry was told.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says our rural road networks are crumbling and need an immediate funding injection to improve safety.
“The Liberal-Nationals’ $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program provided, on average, $1 million to each of Victoria’s country councils every year for four years. That money was spent on roads and bridges that the Wellington and East Gippsland Shires identified as their priorities,” he said.
“The shortfall is resulting in a backlog of roadworks which ratepayers feel with every jolt and bump on our deteriorating roads.”
Caption: Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull says our rural road networks are crumbling and need an immediate funding injection to improve safety.
Monday, August 21, 2017