Roads | February 13, 2024

Western Highway upgrade not a priority for Labor

Duplication of the Western Highway between Ararat and Stawell remains on hold despite claims by the Minister for Transport Infrastructure that the project is a priority for the Allan Labor Government.

Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said despite Labor’s claims, there was still no state government funding to continue the upgrade works, with the highway continuing to fall apart at an alarming rate.

“The Allan Labor Government states that safety for all road users is a priority, so it needs to explain why it is yet to confirm funding to upgrade the 26.4 kilometres of Western Highway between Ararat to Stawell that has not been touched,” Ms Kealy said.

The Western Highway is the major road link between Melbourne and Adelaide, with more than 6000 vehicles – including 1500 trucks – travelling on the highway each day. That number is expected to double in the next three years.

“Duplication of the Western Highway started in 2013 and was supposed to be finished by 2016, but 11 years later we have only 55 kilometres of the 103-kilometre section of highway duplicated, with no work occurring for the past four years.

“In the lead-up to the 2022 state election I was proud to announce a Liberal Nationals commitment to provide the $90 million required to complete the duplication of the Western Highway, with construction of the Ararat to Stawell section to be completed by the end of 2025.

“The Andrews Labor Government has had every opportunity to provide the funding required to get this project moving but has done nothing.

“In the meantime, the condition of the existing highway has become increasingly dire with permanent speed reductions in place in some areas because the surface is so dangerous.

“Labor can’t manage money and Victorians are paying the price by being forced to drive on unsafe roads littered with potholes and crumbling edges.

“I am proud to be a part of a Liberal Nationals team that is committed to completing this vital and urgently needed project, and we will not rest until the project is finished to ensure the safety of all road users.”


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