THE dangerous and dilapidated Princes Highway West missed out on cash in the state budget because it was not on the government's priority list, MP Roma Britnell says.
The Member for South West Coast said on Wednesday Roads Minister Jaala Pulford told public hearings her government had not matched $60 million in federal funding for the Princes Highway or $80 million for other strategic roads, because "they were not their priorities".
Wannon MP Dan Tehan secured $60 million for upgrades to the Princes Highway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy ahead of last month's federal election and urged the state government to match the funds and get work underway.
Ms Britnell said under questioning in state parliament on Wednesday Ms Pulford said funding was not forthcoming for the projects because the 2019-20 budget was about delivering on the government's election commitments and priorities.
"It's hard to fathom the Princes Highway and the south-west's strategic freight roads aren't a priority for the Labor Government, given during the same hearing a representative from VicRoads said funding was delivered to roads with the highest strategic importance and were the biggest economic drivers - categories the Princes Highway West clearly fits inside," Ms Britnell said.
"Labor have been in government in Victoria for all but four of the last 20 years.
"The government developed a strategy for the Princes Highway in 2000 and have failed to do anything about it.
"The people of the south-west should be questioning why the Labor Party doesn't believe one of the most important roads in our region is a priority and why they are happy to let it crumble while they build new freeways in Melbourne."
A government spokeswoman hit back at Mrs Britnell.
"Once again Roma Britnell is making things up," the spokeswoman said.
"The budget clearly shows that spending on regional road maintenance has doubled since the time the Liberals and Nationals were in government."
She did not answer why the government would not match the funding for the upgrades or what had to be done to make the highway a priority.
The region's councils have been lobbying for upgrades to the highway for the past two years. They are seeking upgrades from Colac to the South Australian border.
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