Highway hypocrisy

PREMIER Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas are being labelled hypocrites for their response to the federal budget, which confirms the federal government’s contribution of $132 million to the final stages of the Princes Highway duplication.

Mr Pallas said the federal Liberal-National government had failed to give Victoria its “fair share” of infrastructure in the budget last week.

“Another Prime Minister from Sydney has failed to deliver for Victoria,” he said.

“The Morrison minority government is still shunning Victoria, delivering less than 18 per cent of national infrastructure funding, despite us having more than 26 per cent of the population.”

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said the statement was hypocritical, considering the Labor government had yet to provide money for the final two stages of the Princes Highway dulpication.

“There is $132 million of federal infrastructure funding on the table for the Victorian government to complete the Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale,” Mr O’Brien said.

“And yet the state government refuses to put up its $33 million share of that project and now has the gall to complain about federal infrastructure spending.

“The people of Gippsland are sick of the politicking on infrastructure and this project in particular, they just want to see it finished.”

Mr O’Brien said the state government failed to make an election commitment towards the Princes Highway duplication and has indicated it won’t be in this month’s state budget.

“Tim Pallas and Daniel Andrews have an opportunity on budget day later this month to put their money where their mouth is,” he said.

“They can continue to falsely claim a lack of funding support for roads from the federal government, or they can actually get on with the project that all Gippslanders want to see finished.

“A $33 million investment to match the contribution from the federal government would see this important project finished once and for all.

“Duplicating the highway will improve road safety, make our region a more attractive place to live and invest, improve freight efficiency and boost tourism in the region.

“Rather than pointing the finger, Tim Pallas and Daniel Andrews need to look in the mirror and stump up the cash to get this project finished.”

The state government had previously stated priority would be given to fulfilling Labor’s election promises in next month’s budget.