The federal govt should build Kilmany section

Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the federal government should fund the high priority Kilmany section of the Princes Highway duplication works, however whether the current overpass was rebuilt as an overpass or underpass was a matter for VicRoads.
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the federal government should fund the high priority Kilmany section of the Princes Highway duplication works, however whether the current overpass was rebuilt as an overpass or underpass was a matter for VicRoads.

GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester says the federal government should fund the Kilmany overpass section of the Princes Highway duplication - without any state government support.

In a bid to break the political impasse between the state and federal governments over funding for the final two stages of the highway duplication between Sale and Traralgon, Mr Chester said he was lobbying his federal colleagues to build the Kilmany overpass section without any state money.

The bold move would exhaust all the Commonwealth funding allocated to the project, leaving the state to finish off the Sheepwash Creek section between Rosedale and Traralgon, which would complete the duplication work.

Mr Chester said it was a "practical solution" to deliver a safer and more productive highway sooner for Gippslanders, after the state Labor government has refused to provide its share of the funding for the project.

"Gippslanders are running out of patience - and so am I," Mr Chester said.

The duplication project is at a standstill because the state government is refusing to provide its 20 per cent share to build the final two stages.

"The federal government has allocated $132 million in the past two budgets, but Premier Daniel Andrews is refusing to even acknowledge letters I've sent to him this year on behalf of Gippslanders, urging him to fund these critical roadworks.

"It's a disgrace that Premier Andrews can fund billions of dollars of projects in Melbourne, but refuses to find just $33 million to finish our highway duplication."

Mr Chester said local Labor MPs had been "silent" on the issue, and the only way to break the impasse was for the federal government to "allocate its entire commitment to the Kilmany section", and at least get the project moving again.

"That would just leave the Sheepwash Creek project between Rosedale and Traralgon to finish the job, which the state can fund in the future," he said.

Mr Chester said he had written directly to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and also raised the proposal during a meeting with local mayors.

"While I acknowledge that under long established principles, the Commonwealth provides 80 per cent of funding for this project and the state provides 20 percent, Gippsland motorists are being penalised because the premier is too arrogant to even respond to letters on the issue," Mr Chester said.

"The Kilmany section is clearly the worst section of the road yet to be duplicated, and I understand that extensive design work has already been completed.

"I'm focussed on getting the job done, one way or another, and if we can release the federal funding as soon as possible, we can get work underway this calendar year."

It is not clear whether the current overpass would be rebuilt as a road overpass or underpass.

Early last year a VicRoads community survey indicated a preference for a road underpass.

Mr Chester said the design work for a road overpass or underpass would be a matter for the VicRoads design team.

Comments