When the Roads and Road Safety Minister came out with a half-baked set of funding initiatives affecting Benambra recently it was time to expose the truth … in Parliament last night I asked Luke Donnellan to come clean … tell us where he is spending the money on the Kiewa Valley Highway, Corryong-Benambra Road and Hume Freeway, explain what will be done, where and when.
He has 28 days.
‘I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
The action I seek is to be provided with detailed information relating to the media release which he issued on Wednesday, November 2 in regard to major roads and highways.
A number of the roadways mentioned in the media release are located, at least in part, within the electorate of Benambra and the residents of the areas serviced by these roads would be very interested in details.
Firstly, what sections of the Murray Valley Highway will be resealed in the resealing program mentioned?
Secondly, of the ‘Number of sites’ that will receive ‘major repairs’, what sections of the Hume Highway, Kiewa Valley Highway and the Corryong-Benambra Road within Benambra will receive the overdue attention of this government?
The one moment of confidence that I had when reading the release was with the advice that the ‘works will be delivered by regional contractors including the North East Maintenance Alliance’.
Under the previous Coalition Government the sealing of the Omeo Highway, the first gazetted highway in this state, was funded and the project was carried out by North East Maintenance Alliance.
The local contractors used through the alliance had pride in their work and knew the significance of the project for the region. The works were completed to extremely high standards, even beyond expectations.
I will stand in this place and applaud any effort and financial contribution to improve the vast road network that stretches across the 10,037 square kilometres of Benambra – by way of comparison for my friends from the city that is the equivalent of about 836 Prahran electorates.
But with the recognition of the extent of that network comes the uncertainty provided by this broad brush approach to explaining to the people of Victoria and in this case the voters of Benambra exactly what part of these major arterial roads are slated for re-sealing and major repairs.
The state of our road networks has been further exposed by what has been a record wet winter and early spring. Potholes, damage to road shoulders and in some instances the effects of swollen rivers on bridges and flash flooding has Alpine Council with a $1 million repair bill.
This too is referenced in the minister’s statement but again with little specific information.
My constituents deserve better.
For the sake of clarity and transparency it is incumbent upon the minister to explain exactly where, and when, these promised works will take place.’