GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester says the Princes Highway duplication has stalled because Premier Daniel Andrews is refusing to provide Victoria’s share of the funding for the final two stages.
Mr Chester warned lives would be lost on the highway if the Labor Party didn’t back the project, which had previously received bipartisan support.
Mr Chester said the Sale to Traralgon duplication project wouldn’t progress any further unless the state government made a funding commitment towards a four-kilometre section at Flynn, and an 8km section at Kilmany.
“The final two stages are expected to cost $165 million and all other sections have been funded with an 80/20 split between the federal and state governments,” Mr Chester said.
“I was pleased to secure $132 million from our federal government in last year’s budget, but the Victorian Labor government is yet to commit its $33 million share.
“It would be disgraceful if the duplication project isn’t completed and I’ve written to the Premier urging him to stop stalling and get on with the job.”
In the letter, Mr Chester highlighted the road safety features along with local jobs and productivity benefits of the duplication project.
The first nine sections of the duplication project were funded with $210 million from the Australian government and $50 million from the Victorian government.
The last of these first nine sections – at Nambrok between Nambrok Rd and Maffra-Rosedale Rd, and east of Traralgon between Minniedale Rd and Sheepwash Creek Rd – were opened to traffic before Christmas.
“Gippslanders want this 42km duplication project to be completed as soon as possible,” Mr Chester said.
“The Victorian government must allocate money to this project immediately to save lives and avoid further delays for motorists.”