Roads | January 24, 2022
Kealy slams Labor’s plan to drop country speed limits
Labor has announced plans to reduce speed limits to 80km/hr on a number of rural roads – a move that has been slammed by The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.
Ms Kealy described the policy as an admission of failure and said the Andrews Government should focus on fixing country Victoria’s crumbling road network.
“Labor cut the road maintenance budget by 25 per cent last year and now, because of crumbling roads and potholes, they plan to drop speed limits on country roads to 80km/h,” she said.
“What makes this decision even harder to take is at the same time as maintenance funds are cut to just $617 million, we are seeing $52 billion being spent on four city-based transport projects.
“Even more infuriating is the $6 billion in cost over-runs on the West Gate Tunnel and Melbourne Metro projects.
“Labor’s cost blowouts from mismanagement of city projects would go a long way to fixing our roads.
“Reducing speed limits doesn’t fill potholes, doesn’t fill cracks and certainly doesn’t stop roads completely falling apart; it just means the government has to do less.
“This is a lazy and arrogant decision by the government, which demands cars be roadworthy but does nothing to ensure roads are carworthy.”
Ms Kealy said if elected to government this year The Nationals would reinstate the successful Country Roads and Bridges Program.
The program provided funding to rural councils to upgrade local roads, but was ditched by the Andrews Government when they were elected in 2014.
“It’s not rocket science: fix country roads, and you will save country lives,” Ms Kealy said.
Ms Kealy said the government announced it supported moves to reduce speed limits on some rural roads after it was among the recommended from a parliamentary committee with a Labor majority.
“The opposition MPs on this committee vigorously opposed the recommendation, so any attempt to sell this as a bipartisan initiative is dishonest,” Ms Kealy said.
“I find it galling that in its response to the recommendation that speed limits be reduced, the Andrews Government acknowledged that country communities would be concerned by the changes but said it would “educate” us on the risks of speed and links to road trauma.
“Instead of patronising us with an education campaign about risks we well understand, the government would be well advised to invest some of our taxes into properly fixing the roads we rely on to get to work, school and to conduct our daily business”.
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