Band aid fix won’t resolve regional road woes

05 May 2021

An RACV proposal to lower speed limits on regional back roads is a harebrained idea that lets the Andrews Government off the hook for its chronic underinvestment in country roads, according to local MP Steph Ryan.

The Nationals’ deputy leader said the RACV should be lobbying for more investment into regional roads, rather than urging the Andrews Labor Government to drop speed limits.

“The Andrews Government has already said it wants to lower country speed limits. It’s concerning that the RACV have now adopted this lazy solution,” Ms Ryan said.

“Country drivers pay their RACV membership expecting the group will lobby the government on their behalf, but the organisation is not sticking up for country members if it is advocating for speed limit reductions.

“Instead of cutting speed limits in country Victoria, the government should be investing in improving rural roads and people should be taught how to drive to the conditions.”

Ms Ryan said the RACV’s comments that it would take too long and be too expensive to make country roads safe shows the city-centric type of thinking that is leaving rural and regional Victorians behind.

“So-called “back roads” are often the only ones we can travel. The idea that lowering the speed on back roads to force country motorists onto main roads is ridiculous.

“Simply slowing down country drivers because we have a city-centric government that refuses to spend the money to fix roads is a lazy policy and treats country Victorians with contempt.”

Ms Ryan said the Andrews Labor Government must use the coming State Budget to fix the disgraceful imbalance between metropolitan and regional Victoria and commit a significant spend to get rural and regional roads up to scratch.

“Labor has been in government for 17 of the last 21 years and has failed to maintain our regional road network,” Ms Ryan said.

“Instead, they have spent more than $25 billion to cover cost blowouts on city infrastructure projects.

“Some of that money Labor has wasted could have been invested to fix dangerous, narrow roads like the Heathcote-Redesdale Rd or Upton Rd near Avenel.

“It also could have been invested in finding solutions for intersections like the Miepoll School Rd where primary school children are forced to cross the Murchison-Violet Town Rd with little visibility or heavy vehicle traffic in Murchison’s main street.

“The continued neglect of regional roads while spending hand over fist in the city is a slap in the face for Victorians who work and live in the regions.

“Country people should be able to go about our daily business without being slowed down because of some harebrained city scheme.

“The only way to make our roads safer is to invest in fixing them – and not just installing wire rope barriers and lowering speed limits – by actually rebuilding road surfaces and clearing roadside vegetation.”

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