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Vic Budget prompts differing industry responses

Infrastructure spend will ease congestion but overlooks regional roads, some say

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has praised the “significant funding” that has been allocated for roads and transport infrastructure in the 2018-19 Victorian Budget, but other groups are less convinced.

According to VTA CEO Peter Anderson, the Victorian government has listened to the needs of industry and community in putting the Budget together and the funds allocated for road and transport infrastructure will help improve productivity and efficiency throughout supply chains.

“All up, the Budget contains $13.7 billion for construction and upgrades to Victoria’s transport networks, which is vital for the freight industry to move goods and keep the economy growing,” Anderson says.

“As an industry association that is working hard to attract young, professional people to the freight industry, we also welcome measures in the Budget to streamline the transition for qualified apprentices and tradespersons into the workforce.”

But for Livestock & Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president Graham Howell, the funding allocation overlooks roads in real need of repair.

Howell tells ATN this morning, before the formal announcement of the Budget, that there were a number of roads in the west and south-west of the state which were still affected by flooding dating back to 2010 and 2011.

“[The repairs] have really just been bandaid stuff – they need to get in there and fix them,” he says.

To address these issues, the government has announced a $333 million boost to road maintenance through Regional Roads Victoria (RRV), a new division of VicRoads to be based in Ballarat, as well as another $100 million in the Fixing Country Roads Fund, that will be established to fund repairs to council roads.

Nonetheless, Howell was not convinced, noting that the government was also spending $2.2 billion on upgrading arterial roads in Melbourne.

“When they are spending $2.2 billion, where is $100 million going to go?” he asks.  

“What they should be trying to do is get all roads, including shire roads, up to a standard where they can take B-doubles.

“There is a lot of produce in regional Victoria carried on B-doubles now and gaining access is the problem, because shires reckon their roads aren’t up to the standard and they won’t grant permits.” 

 

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