Lobby group makes $220m road fix an election priority

A CAMPAIGN to get $220 million for Western Victoria’s roads will be the region’s top priority for the state election. 

South West council lobby group Great South Coast (GSC) is stepping up pressure towards the November ballot for the government to fix hundreds of crumbling roads. 

They argue at least $220 million is needed to bring the region’s roads in line with the rest of Victoria. 

According to Moyne Shire and GSC, the figures are based on a 2011 VicRoads report that found almost half the region’s roads were below state standards. 

GSC chairman Chris O’Connor said the group had already met with Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews. 

“This is our priority for the upcoming state election,” Cr O’Connor said.

“We’ll continue to meet with and press the state government on a weekly and monthly basis before the election. 

“Our roads are carrying 25 per cent of the state’s regional freight.” 

Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell also backed calls for the $220 million target.

“It should be the number one priority at the state election,” Cr Purcell said. 

“It’s a matter of getting the message out and getting community support in general.

But he conceded councils will ultimately take “whatever we can get”. 

“The ($220 million) amount is what we think is justifiable. It’s using VicRoads’ own figures so we’re not making it up,” Cr Purcell said. 

Moyne Shire has calculated the total price based on an estimation that each kilometre of damaged road needs $100,000 in work. 

“That would bring our roads up to but no better than the roads in northern and eastern Victoria,” Cr Purcell said. 

Southern Grampians Shire chief executive Richard Perry said the council was concerned about a number of roads in its municipality. 

“The Hamilton Highway is in very poor shape,” Mr Perry said. 

He said the Henty Highway freight route to the Port of Portland was also a key concern.

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