Roads | May 03, 2024

Labor must fund Western Highway duplication in State Budget

Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Emma Kealy has reiterated her calls for the Allan Labor Government to fully fund the Western Highway duplication to Stawell to ensure motorists no longer continue to face appalling and dangerous conditions.

The section of the highway between Buangor and Ararat was due to be finished more than eight years ago, while State Labor has failed to announce any funding for the section from Ararat to Stawell.

This is despite consistent campaigning from communities to make the road safe and reduce the growing number of regular incidents on the pothole-ridden road, including multiple fatalities.

Ms Kealy, who spoke about the duplication in Parliament this week, said it was vital that the government heeded the calls and finally announced funding in next week’s State Budget.

“The highway is Victoria’s second busiest, carrying 7000 vehicles each day, and yet many of them have been forced to drive in the right lane just to avoid the craters in the road, with constituents regularly contacting my office to report vehicle damage as a result of the dangerous road surface,” she said.

“The highway is just one in a long list of roads across the Lowan electorate and the state crying out for investment from the Allan Labor Government, with data released just months ago showing 91 per cent of roads across Victoria are classified as being in ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ condition.

“Yet Labor’s answer has been to continually cut the state’s roads maintenance budget since 2020, leaving Victorians facing unsafe roads to get to work, school, medical appointments, events and to carry goods to market.

“The fact our community continues to face deplorable roads each and every day is an absolutely shameful indictment on the Labor government, which has proven time and again that it can’t manage money and can’t manage major projects.

“I implore the Treasurer to stand up on budget day and finally deliver the funding our region so desperately needs to fully complete the Western Highway duplication to Stawell, and to repair and rebuild the countless other roads that Labor has allowed to crumble.”

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