Purcell seeks support for country road authority

January 11, 2018 BY

INDEPENDENT Upper House MP James Purcell is calling for more submissions to a state government inquiry into the management of Victoria’s country roads before next week’s deadline.

Last year, the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee began an inquiry, which includes considering the option of dismantling VicRoads and creating a specific Country Roads organisation and separate Metropolitan Roads body among its terms of reference.

Two of the other terms of reference are inquiring into “the existing funding model and its lack of effectiveness for country Victoria” and “the lack of consultation with regional communities and their subsequent lack of input into prioritising which roads are in dire need of repair”.

Mr Purcell moved the original motion to start the inquiry in November, arguing that VicRoads was not an effective manager of the state’s country roads, and that the Melbourne-centric funding model needed to be changed.

“It’s vital that our rural communities have their say on this issue. This inquiry may be our best chance to flood the committee with first-hand information on how dire the road situation is in regional Victoria,” Mr Purcell said last week.

“In south-west Victoria it is particularly dire. VicRoads has admitted that these are the worst roads in the state, yet they continue to provide bandaid solutions in the bush while fussing over major roading infrastructure solutions in Melbourne.”

VicRoads’ website states the road authority has completed “the biggest public engagement” in its history, and it is “now shaping the most significant period of planning, construction, maintenance and uplift of the regional road network in 70 years”.

In the Barwon South-West region, VicRoads has committed to more than $700 million on major upgrades, $95 million on road maintenance and repair, $150 million on safety improvements and $18 million on bridge strengthening and replacement.

Submissions close on January 15.

For more information on the inquiry or to make a submission, head to parliament.vic.gov.au/lrrcsc.