MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) — I rise to speak about the enthusiastic response of western Victorian residents and industries to the Andrews Labor government’s funding for roads in the south-west — a response to calls for road upgrades and maintenance for well over a decade. In the past month the Andrews Labor government has announced an extraordinary $125 million commitment to important roads in a Victorian region vital for exports, jobs and tourism. The Warrnambool Standard described this commitment as a ‘joy’ for the western Victorian community.
The need for such spending stems from the progressive deterioration of local roads and highways, initially constructed from local materials that have failed under the stress of massive modern trucks and intense usage by tourists and locals alike. The $30 million commitment to upgrade the Great Ocean Road and to enhance the alternative inland route from Forrest to Apollo Bay will make travel safer, encourage tourists and importantly provide a key route for local residents. The timber, grain and dairy industries are served by improving the vital Princes Highway route from Colac to the South Australian border, the Hamilton Highway between Geelong and Cressy and the arterial roads in the Green Triangle around Portland.
For local residents perhaps the most significant of all is the commitment of $50 million to upgrade and improve narrow sealed roads such as the Macarthur-Myamyn Road and Foxhow Road. These are roads that either have been carrying increased heavy vehicle traffic or have been the cause of accidents and fatalities. When I made the announcement at Pomborneit a local resident said, ‘This funding has been a long time coming, but it will make such a difference to the south-west, and it’s nice to know we’ve not been forgotten’.