Rural Infrastructure Requires Some TLC

Rural Infrastructure Requires Some TLC

Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu

Victoria Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan

Victoria Shadow Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder

$160 Million For Ailing Rural Roads And Bridges

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will reverse Labor’s neglect of Country Roads and Bridges with a $160 Million fund to ease the burden on Rural Councils and provide relief to ratepayers.

Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu was at Gibbons Bridge in Redesdale outside Bendigo today, where residents are completely frustrated by the long term neglect of the bridge.

“Many Regional Councils are servicing large areas with small and declining populations and rates are rising above sustainable levels, putting families under increasing financial pressure.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“Forty rural councils will be able to apply for up to $1 Million from the Country Roads and Bridges Fund each year over the next four years, providing them with up to $4 Million each in the first term of a Coalition Government.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“These Roads and Bridges, managed by Rural Councils, are important arterials for freight, school buses, emergency vehicles and everyday use by local families.”

“Gibbons Bridge was already suffering neglect when it was further damaged in the Black Saturday bushfires, and still John Brumby has refused to fund its repair.” Mr. Baillieu said.

VIC Shadow Minister for Public Trasnport Terry Mulder

VIC Shadow Minister for Public Trasnport Terry Mulder










Shadow Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the reality of the financial capacity of rural councils meant that much of the necessary road and bridge upgrades were often left undone.

“Rates are already higher in Victorian country areas than in Melbourne. Rates or smaller councils’ borrowings will rise further if smaller councils do not receive a road funding boost. Roads are a necessity in the country with many residents lacking alternative routes if one road or bridge is in poor condition.” Mr. Mulder said.

“Recent floods have ripped up Labor’s neglected roads and bridges across the state causing millions of dollars worth of damage.”

“Under Labor many councils are also responsible for a large number of timber bridges which are almost twice as expensive to maintain as concrete ones.” Mr. Mulder said.

The latest Engineers Australia report on Victorian infrastructure rated Victorian local roads a C-minus, and called for more funding for local governments. The Municipal Council of Victoria has also stated that regional councils with a “massive road length have an unsustainable infrastructure burden that urgently needs to be addressed.”

VIC Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan

VIC Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan











Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of the Nationals Peter Ryan said after 11 years of Labor’s arrogant cost-shifting to Local Government, Regional Roads and Bridges were in a disgraceful state.

“2010’s Rural Road toll has risen by an appalling 26, from 117 to 143 to midnight on 27 October compared with the same date in 2009.” Mr. Ryan said.

“Victoria needs safer roads, and the urgency is particularly acute in the Country.”

“Only the Coalition understands this funding is vital, not only to relieve rate pressures on rural families, but to ensure road conditions are safer for motorists. It will allow local councils to better budget over the next four years, and ensure regional Roads and Bridges are restored and maintained after 11 years of Labor’s neglect.” Mr. Ryan said.

The 40 Rural Councils eligible for funds are:

  • Alpine,
  • Ararat,
  • Bass Coast,
  • Baw Baw,
  • Benalla,
  • Buloke,
  • Campaspe,
  • Colac Otway,
  • Central Goldfields,
  • Corangamite,
  • East Gippsland,
  • Gannawarra,
  • Glenelg,
  • Golden Plains,
  • Hepburn,
  • Horsham,
  • Hindmarsh,
  • Indigo,
  • Loddon,
  • Macedon Ranges,
  • Mansfield,
  • Mitchell,
  • Moira,
  • Moorabool,
  • Mount Alexander,
  • Moyne,
  • Murrindindi,
  • Northern Grampians,
  • Pyrenees,
  • Queenscliffe,
  • South Gippsland,
  • Southern Grampians,
  • Strathbogie,
  • Surf Coast,
  • Swan Hill,
  • Towong,
  • Wangaratta,
  • Wellington,
  • West Wimmera,
  • Yarriambiack.

Lack of Road and Railway Bridge maintenance is not confined to Victoria. Recently the Timber Railway overpass into Cowra was removed ending Railway Operations into the Town. The short sightedness of Government in not replacing the Railway Overpass will hurt Cowra dearly. Many Rural Towns are withering simply because the Railway Service has been withdrawn.

Editor Victor P Taffa supports total electrification of all Railway Lines so as to be able to provide more flexible and responsive means of transportation. The ugly sight of overhead Power Lines and Staunchions should be kept into perspective. Everywhere throughout New South Wales High Voltage Power Cables are strung throughout so the visual impact Electrified Railway Lines is insignificant in comparison.

Continuing to allow Coal Trains to be hauled by Diesel Locomotives makes no sense at all. Those political parties that support High Speed Rail should also realise that a High Speed Rail service between Sydney and Melbourne in 4 Hours can only be achieved by Electrification and unless Regulation is imposed on the Coal Industry simply putting a Carbon Price on Coal will only hurt the Battlers and Pensioners of which the Labor Party abandoned a long time ago.

Editor Victor P Taffa will be covering firsthand the 27 November 2010 Victoria State Election.