Roads | August 23, 2017

State’s funding cuts hurting council roads

The National’s Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP says Lowan electorate ratepayers are paying at least eight times more than their city counterparts to maintain local road networks.

A parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability and Operational Challenges of Victoria’s rural and regional councils has heard that country councils are struggling to meet the high costs of maintaining their road networks.

A submission to the Inquiry from the Municipal Association of Victoria showed the average council manages 1642 km of roads with an average expenditure of $100 per head of population.

Rural and regional councils manage an average of 2200 km at a cost of $298 per person.

For the nine councils in the Lowan electorate the average is 3069 km, almost double, and an average cost of $810 per head of population.

Ms Kealy said rural road networks were crumbling and needed an immediate funding injection to improve safety.

“This is a disproportionately large amount of infrastructure to be maintained by rural and regional councils compared to their city counterparts and a huge burden on ratepayers with significantly lower income streams”, Ms Kealy said.

“The Liberal-Nationals’ $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program provided on average $1 million to each of Victoria’s country councils every year for four years. That money was spent on roads and bridges that councils identified as their priorities.

“The Andrews Labor Government axed the program shortly after getting into government resulting in a backlog of roadworks which ratepayers feel with every jolt and bump on our deteriorating roads.

"My constituents are constantly expressing their concerns to me about the appalling state of our roads. Not only are they deeply concerned about the safety of their families, they are sick and tired of sustaining vehicle damage from the rough edges and potholes that regularly appear on our roads.

“I will continue to lobby the Andrews Labor Government to ensure that we get our fair share of funding so that our roads can be maintained at a standard that will ensure the safety of our local communities”, she said. 

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