The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability and Operational Challenges of Victoria’s Rural and Regional Councils has heard this week that country councils are struggling to meet the high costs of maintaining their roads network.
Giving evidence to the inquiry this week, Local Government Victoria confirmed that rural councils have a disproportionately large volume of infrastructure to maintain compare to metropolitan counterparts, but significantly lower revenue streams.
Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, said that the Andrews Labor Government had undermined regional road funding since coming to government and it was time proven funding program such as the Country Roads and Bridges Program were reintroduced to assist councils.
‘Regional councils on average manage an average of 2,200km of roads, four times more than city-based councils,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘The Andrews Labor Government was incredibly quick on coming to government in defunding the Liberal-Nationals’ hugely successful Country Roads and Bridges Program that directly assisted regional council road projects,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Regional communities were rightly outraged in 2015 when Daniel Andrews used funding he described as for ‘country’ bridges to upgrade 10 bridges close to metropolitan Melbourne.
‘Primary producers, transport companies and locals are more and more seeing reduced speed limits, warning signs and road closures or detours due to this lack of funding.
‘Our road networks are crumbling in regional Victoria and urgent funding is needed to improve safety,’ said Mr Blackwood.