New figures reveal the ongoing extent of the Allan Labor Government’s neglect of Victorian roads, with less than 0.1 per cent of roadsides graded last year.
Grading of unsealed roadsides and cleaning out of drains is a crucial part of road maintenance, ensuring water can get away from the road surface, preventing pavement failure and pothole formation.
Yet grading is almost non-existent, adding to the woeful state of our roads.
In response to a Question on Notice in State Parliament, even the Government acknowledges that the “importance of drain cleaning in conjunction with road formation cannot be overstated”.
It is stated that it is “a fundamental aspect of infrastructure maintenance that directly impacts safety, durability, environmental sustainability, and the overall well-being of the community”.
Yet in 2023 the Government completed just 25 kilometres of roadside grading across the 23,000 kilometres of state-controlled roads. Only 900 drainage defects were addressed across the whole state.
Shadow Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Danny O’Brien, said the farcically low amount of work was the result of successive Labor Government road maintenance funding cuts.
“We have seen a 45 per cent cut to the roads maintenance budget since 2020, including a 25 per cent cut in this year’s budget, when we actually needed a serious cash injection.
“The failure to grade roadsides and clean drains is a big part of the disastrous state of our roads, especially in country Victoria where many state roads have unsealed shoulders.
“Lack of drainage maintenance is what has led to so much of the damage we see on our roads throughout the state at the moment. Even the Government acknowledges it is also a safety risk, something you’d think they might be focused on given the road toll was up 24 per cent last year.”
Mr O’Brien said the lack of roadside maintenance was exacerbated by the wet seasons.
“We’ve got grass and weeds thriving on our roadsides and in many instances causing a visibility and safety hazard, yet the Labor Government is doing less and less,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Labor can’t manage money, can’t manage projects and can’t keep our roads up to scratch.”