A demand for $300 million from the region’s councils to upgrade the dilapidated and dangerous Princes Highway from Colac to the South Australian border fell on deaf ears on Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the Twelve Apostles to announce nearly $60m in tourism infrastructure but declined to confirm if the federal government would fund the urgent highway works.
“We have a $75 billion rolling infrastructure fund ...” Mr Morrison said but was interrupted by Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson: “… and already $363m between Winchelsea and Colac, and $20m west of Colac,” she said. “Look, we’ll roll out infrastructure that meets what local communities need,” Mr Morrison added.
Corangamite Mayor Jo Beard said she thought Mr Morrison “needs to be brought up to speed a bit more on what our ask is” for the Princes Highway upgrade.
“All the councils have come together on the Great South Coast and now we’re working on the best way forward in terms of whether we want duplication or two-plus-one. I wouldn’t expect him to make a clear indication until we have our plan together but I do know (Federal Member for Wannon) Dan Tehan has our back and understands what work needs to be done.
“I’m sure the Great Ocean Road will get funding year-to-year, but a lot of people go back to the city using our local roads, the VicRoads network, so we have been advocating long and hard for what we call the north-south road loop and the upgrades and maintenance that need to be done there so people can get home safer because ultimately they’re using those roads with local people.
“Whatever state government gets put in we want an election announcement but now all this funding that’s been announced down here today just makes that case stronger.”
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