OPPOSITION claims the state government had neglected proper maintenance of the Great Ocean Road have been slammed by Roads Minister Terry Mulder as scaremongering.
A confidential VicRoads memo to the minister obtained by the Opposition under Freedom of Information warns the level of current rehabilitation funding increases the likelihood of extensive and significant pavement failure.
It lists 33 sites for reconstruction, but not funded in this year’s budget.
Opposition roads spokesman Luke Donnellan claimed the Baillieu government was potentially putting motoring families and tourists at risk.
“You don’t need to be Einstein to realise that without proper funding for vital maintenance works on the road there is a real likelihood of more accidents,” he said.
However, Mr Mulder said any comment the government and VicRoads were willing to put lives at risk was “simple scaremongering”.
“The Great Ocean Road is safe to travel on,” he said.
“The Coalition government is getting on with the job of fixing errors of the past decade from the previous Labor government and restoring assets damaged by repeated years of flooding.”
VicRoads regional director William Tieppo said $6.85 million had been allocated for maintenance of the coastal road between 2011 and 2013, plus geo-technical inspections at high-risk locations.
He said the 33 sites in the memo were part of a forward program, which had to be considered alongside other work across the state.
“The memo only indicates there is potential for more work to improve the Great Ocean Road,” he said.
“This is in addition to routine maintenance which is based on minimising risks and maximising service to the community in the most cost-effective manner.
“Significant work is being undertaken on the Great Ocean Road.”
A recent report on tourism opportunities suggests spending $50m to make it a “showcase” road producing a short-term economic spin-off of $114m and 293 jobs.
“It is essential that the road is maintained and developed to meet forecast demand from visitors,” it says.
The report suggests premium road surfaces, shoulder sealing and improved linkages to other roads.