Fix roads, not limit

20 Sep 2017 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) State Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has slammed the Victorian Government over reports it plans to decrease the speed limit on some unsealed country roads. Ms Ryan said plans to reduce the speed limit to 70 km/h on some roads was lazy policy from a government which was completely disengaged with regional Victoria. Labor has cut $160 million for the maintenance of country roads and bridges across country Victoria and is now trying to deal with the inevitable fallout with a band-aid fix, Ms Ryan said. Our roads have deteriorated significantly as a result of Labors funding cuts, with many stretches of road subject to temporary speed restrictions because of the dangerous state of the road. Its simple: if you fix country roads, you save country lives. What we need is for Daniel Andrews to fund the maintenance of our roads, not to lower the speed limit. However, State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said The Nationals were deliberately misleading on the issue. Ms Symes said it was Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer who proposed the idea of reduced speed limits after becoming concerned about the volume of deaths on unsealed roads. Turning this into a political tit-for-tat is disrespectful for those who have lost loved ones on our roads, Ms Symes said. The facts are that the VicRoads maintenance budget was $157 million in the last year of the previous Liberal/National government. This year we have allocated $343.2 million to maintenance. Labor knows roads are the lifeblood of country communities thats why were investing more than ever before to make our country roads safer. Since coming to office, the Andrews Labor Government has doubled spending on road maintenance. However, Ms Ryan questioned how the VicRoads maintenance budget was being spent. She said the government had gone so far as to spend funding designated for regional bridges in Mr Andrews city-based electorate of Mulgrave. If Labors idea of a regional seat is Mulgrave, then I think we should all be concerned, Ms Ryan said. Roads right across the Euroa electorate are cracking up and are riddled with potholes because Labor is spending money for the maintenance of country roads in the city. There is an obvious solution to this problem and that is to fix the roads. That is something Ms Symes says is already under way. Over the next 12 months VicRoads will be doing more pavement work than it has done in decades. In this financial year alone, VicRoads will fix more than 1400 km of roads, Ms Symes said. And were not just filling pot holes, were rebuilding entire sections of some of our most critical links. Were rolling out more than 1700 km of wire rope barriers, upgrading road shoulders and widening centre lines on the states most dangerous country roads. I know there is much to be done on country roads and our government is focused on getting on with the job. Ms Ryan said that in spite of the money being spent, Labor was not doing enough for country roads and the safety of rural and regional drivers. If Daniel Andrews really cared about road safety, he would not have slashed the country roads budget so drastically in the first place, Ms Ryan said. There is no question that our roads are becoming more dangerous as a result of a lack of maintenance, but the safest solution is to ensure there is adequate funding to maintain them to a safe standard. Caption Text: Safety first: Speed limits may go down on some regional roads, but making them safe is the priority. Steph Ryan Jaclyn Symes Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.