SOUTH-WEST councils have welcomed the state government’s $45 million boost for arterial road repairs, but see it as only a drop in the bucket.
About $60m alone would be needed in Moyne Shire, which has some of the worst damage in Victoria and has a social media lobbying campaign under way.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder, of Colac, said across the state $20m would be spent on resurfacing and $25m for restoration of routes in poor condition due to wet weather during the past two years.
However, he said specific allocation would depend on the VicRoads works program.
All south-west councils have been complaining about rapidly deteriorating roads frequented by high truck volumes, particularly wind farms in Moyne Shire.
Moyne Shire Council mayor Jim Doukas and Great South Coast group chairman Cr Matt Makin of Corangamite said this week’s fund announcement indicated the government had acknowledged roads were in bad shape.
“I’m assuming Moyne will get the biggest share because we have the worst roads and the industries that cause the most damage,” Cr Doukas said. “About $60m would be needed just for arterial roads in Moyne.
“This is a start, but more is needed.
“Some of our roads are in a deplorable condition — a death trap.”
Cr Makin said there had been chronic under-funding by successive state governments during the past 15 years and an expensive catch-up was needed. “Data indicates arterial roads in the south-west are the worst in Victoria,” he said.
“Residents would do 80 per cent of their travelling on arterial routes. Road repair is one of the most important issues for local communities and businesses.”
Cr Makin said all rural council election candidates in the region rated roads as a priority issue, but new contenders were probably not aware of the method by which funding was allocated.
“The general community would probaby not realise there’s a difference between the VicRoads arterial network and local council roads,” Cr Makin told The Standard yesterday.
“Local government roads are being maintained satisfactorily and not deteriorating like VicRoads routes.”
Mr Mulder said improvement works would be done during warmer months.
“During winter months it is not possible to carry out permanent pavement works due to wet, cold conditions,” he said.
“We ask motorists and communities to continue to exercise patience while the works are carried out.”