Labor has announced plans to reduce speed limits to 80km/hr on roads across country Victoria – a move slammed by The Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan.
Ms Ryan described the policy this week as “lazy”, and said the Andrews Government should focus on fixing country Victoria’s crumbling road network.
“Labor cut the road maintenance budget by 25 per cent last year and now, because of crumbling roads and potholes, they plan to drop speed limits on country roads to 80km/hr,” Ms Ryan said.
“This is a lazy and arrogant decision by the government which demands cars be roadworthy but does nothing to ensure roads are car worthy.
“Reducing speed limits on regional roads doesn’t fill potholes, doesn’t fill cracks and certainly doesn’t stop roads completely falling apart; it just means the government has to do less.
“At the same time as cutting funding for road maintenance in country areas, Labor is pouring $52 billion into four transport projects in metropolitan Melbourne – including six billion which has just been wasted on poor project management.”
Ms Ryan said if elected to government this year The Nationals would reinstate the successful Country Roads and Bridges Program.
The program provided funding to rural councils to upgrade local roads and was ditched by the Andrews Government when they were elected in 2014.
“It’s not rocket science: fix country roads, and you will save country lives,” Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said the government announced it supported the change after it was recommended by a parliamentary committee.
“The committee that recommended this change had a Labor majority. The recommendation was vigorously opposed by Opposition MPs so any attempt to sell this as a bipartisan initiative is dishonest.
“I find it galling that in its response to the recommendation that speed limits be reduced, the Andrews Government acknowledged that country communities would be concerned by the changes but said it would “educate” us on the risks of speed and links to road trauma.
“Instead of patronising us with an education campaign about risks we well understand, the government would be well advised to invest some of our taxes into properly fixing the roads we rely on to get to work, school and to conduct our daily business.”