I REFER to the article “south-west mayors at odds over duplication funding” (The Standard, July 25).
The duplication of the Princes Highway between Winchelsea and Colac will greatly improve road safety and deliver a vital economic boost to our region.
I am disappointed that Corangamite Shire mayor Matt Makin has chosen to criticise this project, which is at odds with his earlier supportive comments and which will have significant flow-on benefits for the Corangamite Shire as well.
The Coalition proudly committed to this project well before the 2010 federal election, forcing Labor to match our pledge in the dying days of the election campaign. Our commitment to this important regional infrastructure project is unchanged.
Since the election, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has made it clear that this project is vital to our region’s future.
He has also confirmed that a future Coalition government will recognise the Princes Highway as a “nation building” road of national signifi cance from Geelong through to Adelaide.
In June 2011 he stated: “The Coalition has already announced a policy to upgrade the highway from Winchelsea to Colac but it needs to go beyond Colac as soon as possible” (The Standard, June 27, 2011).
The Coalition understands how important roads funding is to rural and regional councils. Your readers may be unaware that the Gillard Labor government has seen fit to cut roads expenditure in its 2012-13 budget by a massive $3.62 billion.
In Victoria, federal expenditure has dropped from $800 million in 2011-12 to just $137 million in 2012-13.
So far, Labor has spent only $7 million on planning the Winchelsea to Colac road duplication.
Of more concern is that Labor has not allocated any other funds to the project from the current Nation Building program.
Instead of playing petty political games, Corangamite Labor MP Darren Cheeseman, should be working hard to ensure that this project is properly funded and that his city-centric government understands the importance of funding for rural and regional roads.
Sarah Henderson, Liberal candidate for Corangamite