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Benalla roads and bridges will be better under a Coalition Government

22 October 2014

A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will continue to invest $1 million a year, every year, to fix local roads and bridges in the Benalla Rural City.

The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan today welcomed the Coalition Government’s announcement that it had re-committed to the successful $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program for a further four years, providing much needed financial assistance to local councils.

Ms Ryan said under a re-elected Coalition Government, 40 rural councils, including the Benalla Rural City Council, would receive $1 million a year over the next four years to fund vital road and bridge repairs and replacements on local shire roads.

She said the 40 rural councils had each received a total of $4 million over the first four years of this Coalition Government, which was not only helping to fix local roads, but was putting downward pressure on rates.

“Maintaining local roads is one of the largest cost burdens on local government, so to have this program which is investing an additional $1 million a year provides a major boost to rural councils,” Ms Ryan said.

“This additional $1 million a year goes directly into local roads and bridges, funding reseals, pothole repairs, bridge improvements or replacements and other important repair and maintenance work. 

Ms Ryan said she had been advocating for the continuation of this important program and was pleased to see the Coalition commit to it for a further four years.

“This investment means Councils have an additional $1 million a year in their budgets meaning they can spend more on other local roads or to invest in other projects.

“It also means local councils don’t have to continuously go back to rate payers to pay for vital local road improvements, which is helping to keep rates lower for property owners, farmers and businesses.”

Ms Ryan said over the past four years, the Country Roads and Bridges Program had funded important roads projects in the Rural City of Benalla including:

  • $150,000 for works on various locations on Dobson Road and Davies Road Warrenbayne;
  • $125,000 for works on Devenish - Wangaratta Road;
  • $180,000 for works on Lima Road;
  • $30,000 for works on Williams Road;
  • $25,000 for works on Upper Lurg Road;
  • $180,000 for works on Goodwin Street between Griffiths Street and Arundel Street North;                                                                          
  • $50,000 for works on Carrier Street between Bridge Street and Fawkner Drive;
  • $50,000 for works on Smythe Street between Mackellar Street and Church Street;
  • $90,000 for works on Goorambat-Chesney Road; and
  • $30,000 for works on Nunn Street between Bridge Street and Fawkner Drive.

 Municipal Association of Victoria President, Cr Bill McArthur, welcomed the continued funding support.

“The Country Roads and Bridges Program is invaluable, delivering maintenance and restoration projects,” Cr McArthur said.

“With councils responsible for 85 per cent of the state’s road network, road funding is the single largest expense for rural shires, so the $40 million of funding is vital.

“The Victorian Government’s funding is improving road safety, making it a win for councils, communities and all road users.”

Ms Ryan said this funding would be at risk under a Daniel Andrews-led Labor Government who plan to scrap theCountry Roads and Bridges Program to fund union-led city centric projects such as level crossing removals in Labor-held seats.

“Daniel Andrews has irresponsibly confirmed he will scrap this important investment,” Ms Ryan said.

“Labor’s plan will see country roads go backwards and it will force councils to raise rates or cut vital local services.

“This cutback is on top of Labor’s plan to slash the roads maintenance budget for VicRoads roads from more than $500 million a year, to a paltry $125 million a year, consigning country roads to nothing more than goat tracks.

“It is further proof that Daniel Andrews and his Labor comrades simply don’t get it, they don’t understand country communities and will send us spiralling backwards. 

“Regional and rural Victoria can’t afford four years of Labor.”

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