Mayoral support for a federal duplication

GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester said the region’s mayors were supporting his push for work to start immediately on the Kilmany section of the Princes Highway duplication project.

Mr Chester said Wellington, East Gippsland and Latrobe City mayors wanted the federal government to use its $132 million budget commitment to fully fund the most dangerous section of the road.

“I welcome the support of the local government leaders who have written to the federal government and asked for work to start as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the state government to fund its 20 per cent share of the project,” Mr Chester said.

“We should put the federal funding to use as soon as possible and keep the pressure on Premier Daniel Andrews to fund the final section at Sheepwash Creek, between Rosedale and Traralgon.

“Gippslanders are frustrated and running out of patience. They just want the job finished and the only way I can see work beginning in the next 12 months is if the federal government releases its funding for the Kilmany section.”

Mr Chester said he had written to the Premier for the fourth time last week to urge him to provide the state government’s share of funding for the final two stages, after his first three letters were ignored.

Since 2010, nine sections of highway between Traralgon and Sale have been duplicated with $210 million from the Australian government and $50 million from the Victorian government.

While the federal government allocated $132 million to complete the duplication last year, the state government failed to allocate its necessary share of $33 million in this year’s budget – instead, marking the project as completed.

The highway is state government owned.