Roads Minister confirms Western Highway Duplication project “not a priority”

Yesterday in Budget estimates hearings Roads Minister Jaala Pulford said the State Government has not provided funding to match $360 million in Federal Government funding for the Western Highway (Ararat to Stawell) Duplication Project because it is not a priority of the Labor Government. 

Under questioning yesterday the Minister said that there was no matched funding for the project because the 2019/20 State Budget was about delivering on the Labor Government’s election commitments and the Labor Government’s priorities. 

It is incomprehensible why the final section of the of the Western Highway project isn’t a priority for the Labor Government, given during the same hearing the Chief Executive Officer of VicRoads said funding was delivered to roads with the highest strategic importance and were the biggest economic drivers - categories this projects clearly fits inside. 

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said it was a disgrace that the Federal funding hadn’t been included in the budget and that furthermore, the State contribution of $90 million was also not included.  

“This project is already four years overdue”

“Including this money in the Budget would have enabled the project to finally get completed”

Ms Staley said drivers where fed up with driving on a substandard road that is desperately in need of an upgrade.

“The Treasurer, Tim Pallas also confirmed during his PAEC hearing that the this project was not a priority,”

“We have a Premier for Melbourne, his Taxing Treasurer and Roads Minister not caring about projects outside of the Melbourne Tram Tracks,”

“This project is overdue and it is needed now,”

Labor have been in Government in Victoria for all but four of the last 20 years.  The people of Ararat and Stawell 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.