Crumbling country roads will be revived under a $288 million Liberals and Nationals’ plan to re-establish the successful Country Roads and Bridges Program.
Under the plan, annual grants of up to $1.5 million will be available to Victoria’s 48 rural shires and regional councils over the next term of government to fund the restoration and renewal of deteriorating road and bridge infrastructure.
The program means motorists in regional Victoria will have smoother, safer roads after years of funding neglect from Labor and Independents.
Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Emma Kealy said maintaining local roads was one of the largest cost burdens on local government, especially small councils with large road networks.
“This additional $1.5 million a year will provide a major boost to our local councils, some of which have to maintain thousands of kilometres of roads, and bridges which are more than a century old,” Ms Kealy said.
“Ratepayers were left to foot the bill for this after the Andrews Labor Government axed the highly successful program in 2014 with no replacement.
“This funding certainty means we’ll have road repairs that last, and councils will be able to plan for long-term maintenance of vital infrastructure.
“It also helps alleviate the escalating capital costs being faced by our local councils, placing downward pressure on rates.”
Ms Kealy said reinstating the Country Roads and Bridges Program was a real solution to bring regional Victorian roads back from ruin.
“This is in addition to our $10 billion commitment over 10 years to properly fund Victoria’s road maintenance and make country roads safer, Ms Kealy said.
“Labor ignored country Victorians in 2014 when it axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program – rural and regional Victoria can’t afford four years of Labor.”