Local MP and deputy Nationals leader Steph Ryan has added the roads portfolio to her existing responsibilities as the Shadow Minister for water, public transport and liquor and gaming.
Ms Ryan has vowed to use the role to continue the fight to increase spending and improve the quality of all Victorian roads.
“I will continue to champion the cause for regional and rural communities who have been let down badly by the Andrews Labor Government’s failure to properly maintain country roads,” Ms Ryan said.
“Across regional Victoria, roads are crumbling but instead of fixing potholes and road cracking, the Andrews Government has announced it plans to review speed limits with the intention of reducing speeds on many country roads to 80km/hr.
“I am firmly opposed to this plan and in coming months I’ll be doing everything I can to highlight the appalling state of roads across our region and country Victoria more broadly.”
Ms Ryan said the Andrews Labor Government had blown billions on cost overruns on city-based transport projects, while gutting funding for regional and rural roads maintenance.
“Labor cut funding for road maintenance by a quarter in last year’s budget and we are now seeing the consequences as roads deteriorate rapidly,” Ms Ryan said.
“Even the Hume Fwy is falling apart, with rough surface signs and speed restrictions.
“Meanwhile, the Andrews Government is spending an eye-watering $52 billion on just four city transport projects – the West Gate Tunnel, North East Link, Melbourne metro and its level crossing removal project.
“The first thing Labor MPs did when they were elected in 2014 was axe the Country Roads and Bridges Program, which provided critical road maintenance funding to regional and rural Victorian communities.”
This week Labor party MPs moved a motion in Parliament to congratulate the Andrews Government on delivering for regional Victoria, including roads and transport infrastructure.
“Labor MPs need to leave their cocoons in the city to see what is actually happening on the ground in regional Victoria,” Ms Ryan said.