Roads are in dire straits

June 22, 2017

Pot Holes on McSwains Road Echuca180613MP

It seems to be not only Mitchell Shire that is ramping up the support for a greater funding input for the region’s roads.

With a clear indication that greater Victorian Government support is needed to help council’s maintain and upgrade local roads, Strathbogie Shire Council also has a plan to help improve the state of local roads.

The shire is going to categorise those rural roads in dire need of repair.

Following recent local government community satisfaction survey results stating that additional road funding is needed, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) said the survey results showed a correlation between higher performance scores (where the state is investing in local infrastructure) and a decline in council performance where state investment has been withdrawn.

In Strathbogie’s 2017-18 draft budget, a commitment is in place to move all zero- rated roads to category one rated roads — which means they will receive maintenance which they haven’t in the past.

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Amanda McClaren said with a shire of more than 2250km of road networks, it’s a ‘‘massive task’’ to keep all roads to a standard expected by the community.

‘‘As council is now in a strong financial position, it will continue to concentrate on upgrading the standard of its road network,’’ she said.

‘‘We would hope that some money from the sale of the Port of Melbourne will flow through to the 38 rural councils to invest on upgrading and maintaining its infrastructure.’’

She also said while council has received less state funding for country roads and bridges, the Federal Government has increased and committed to the Roads to Recovery funding program.

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said she often received calls from people across the electorate who were concerned about the condition of local roads, desperate for some kind of improvement.

‘‘Strathbogie Shire and every other rural council in Victoria lost $1million a year for country road maintenance when the Country Roads and Bridges program was scrapped,’’ she said.

‘‘Many roads in Strathbogie have fallen into disrepair as a result of this funding shortfall.’’

She called on the Victorian Government to reinstate the funding program because if they fix country roads, they save country lives.

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