It's commendable to see Moyne Shire’s new road advocacy plan is set to increase the pressure on the state government for roads funding (The Standard, August 31), but a more targeted approach is required if it has any hope of gaining the required $60 million.
For years I believed we obsessed about funding for roads at the expense of other community infrastructure and social needs but after a recent incident it has moved up a few notches on my priority list.
Driving along Hopkins Highway near the Grassmere junction the other night, I was forced to drive near the road verge thanks to an oncoming driver failing to keep to his or her side of the road and dimming their headlights. As a result of this manoeuvre we hit a deep pothole with a mound of material beside it, causing some minor damage to the steering mechanism.
Alarmingly, two days later when I returned to that spot it was still untouched by VicRoads and presenting as an ongoing hazard to other drivers. So how will a targeted message for vital roads funding have a real impact on decision-makers in Spring Street or Canberra? The use of social media, topical postcards and emails fall into the category of a shotgun approach. The many pellets fired will travel a short distance and fall short of the mark.
A more targeted approach is to learn from political history and acknowledge that a marginal electorate is a sure-fire way to gain the attention and funding from pollies. For years we have stuck to our rusted-on voting patterns in a conservative electorate and then lamented the lack of attention from Spring Street.
Have courage. It took me 30 years but it is possible to tick a different box at election time.
Look at what happened when the vehicle carrying Tony Abbott was nearly rear-ended by a truck in February 2010.
Unplanned as it was, it was a direct-action event that accelerated the dual highway works between Geelong and Winchelsea. Look at what hasn’t happened as a result of councils across the region and into South Australia joining up to campaign for better roads a year or so ago.
I commend Moyne Shire for its efforts but in many ways the onus is on the community and what they do in the ballot box next time at state and federal elections.
Prime rural examples are the seats of Ballarat East and Ballarat West, which are held by a margin of less than 2 per cent and which have been fawned upon by parties on both sides for years.
Corangamite is the most marginal federal electorate and the preferred destination for high-ranking politicians at election time.
It’s over to you electors and may the force be with you.
Geoff Rollinson, Hopkins Highway, Purnim