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Shadow Minister for Rural Roads with local Nationals MPs Melina Bath and Danny O'Brien

Highway money push

Highway money push

Shadow Minister for Rural Roads with local Nationals MPs Melina Bath and Danny O'Brien

Pre-budget political pressure about highway money

Shadow rural roads minister Roma Britnell was in Gippsland yesterday to help push the case for state government funding for the final two stages of the Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale.

The Andrews government didn't provide the required $33 million in last year's budget so it's facing pressure to include it in Monday's state budget.

Gippsland South MP Danny O'Brien said motorists are running out of patience.

“Our Federal Member, Darren Chester has secured a $132 million commitment from the Federal Government, yet Daniel Andrews has refused to commit the final $33 million over the past four and a half years," Mr O'Brien said.

“It is time Daniel Andrews listened to Gippslanders and made the Traralgon to Sale highway duplication a high priority.”

“Monday’s budget is Daniel Andrews’ opportunity to listen to the people of Gippsland," Mr O'Brien said.

Nationals colleague, Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath, agreed, saying “The constant delays in completing the highway duplication has left Gippsland communities and business operators severely frustrated.”

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Gippsland federal MP Darren Chester is also applying pressure by writing to the premier for the third time, urging him to commit the state's share of funding in Monday's budget.

On the eve of the state budget, Mr Chester has written to Premier Daniel Andrews to again urge the State Government announce its $33 million share of the $165 project to duplicate the highway at Flynn and Kilmany.

“I am extremely disappointed with your government's failure to commit Victoria's $33 million share of the funding required for the final two stages of the highway duplication project,” Mr Chester wrote.

“This inaction has stalled the highest priority road project in the state's east and lives are endangered as traffic must still travel in a single lane at Flynn and Kilmany.”

Mr Chester said he was shocked by the 86 percent increase in the number of lives lost on roads outside Melbourne so far this year compared to last year.

“We need to act now to prevent the loss of more deaths and a crucial element of that is ensuring our highways and roads are as safe as possible. Completing the duplication project will save lives,” Mr Chester said.

Mr Chester has also called on the Premier to announce State Government funding for phase two of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID), worth a total of $62 million.

“I secured $31 million from the Federal Government for this important project in February,” Mr Chester said. “An announcement from the Victorian Government about its financial contribution to this project on budget day next week would be timely.

“I was heartened by the Premier’s comments on Sunday that he was prepared to partner with the Coalition Government to deliver good projects for Victoria.

“Both the Princes Highway duplication and the MID modernisation are key infrastructure projects for Gippsland," Mr Chester said.

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