Despite promises of a big-spending budget, all the Andrews Labor Government has managed to do for roads is to shuffle the deckchairs and refuse to update the public on road project cost blowouts.
The government is trumpeting a ‘new program’ to ‘keep Victorians moving’ but the stated initiatives are made up of old announcements. All of the elements of this program were previously announced and are already in motion.
The budget delivers little more than the usual for road maintenance, which won’t be spent exclusively on fixing road surfaces and may be used to repair damaged wire rope barriers or electronic speed signs.
It ignores key road projects like the Princes Highway West upgrade, which has $140 million of federal funding waiting to be used. All that’s needed is a contribution from the Andrews Labor Government.
What’s more, in a brazen attempt to cover-up the Andrews Labor Government’s ineptitude in managing road construction and maintenance projects, it has failed to provide the traditional ‘State Capital Program’ budget paper. This paper provides an update on the total project costs and timeframe for completion. Daniel Andrews knows his road projects have again blown out in cost and time but he refuses to admit to his mistakes.
The Andrews Labor Government had a real chance with this budget to do some good work on increasing the quality and safety of our roads. Just like every road project they touch, they’ve buggered this up as well.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads (Metropolitan), Brad Battin:
“The 2020/21 budget has well and truly missed the mark from a roads and road safety perspective.
“The only real funding in the budget was for projects that have been announced and commenced months ago. Basically, previously unfunded projects that were started have now been funded.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s refusal to detail the state of almost 60 vitally-important roads projects is one of the most brazen acts I have seen from Labor in the 10 years I’ve been in Parliament. We know the projects are late, we know the costs have blown out, we know that Labor can’t manage projects. Why won’t they just fess up and be honest with Victorians?”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Roma Britnell:
“In the glossy spin that comes with the budget, Labor admits that rural roads are suffering from decades of underinvestment.
“Labor has been in government in this state for the vast majority of the past two decades. By their own admission they have underfunded the rural road network.
“The underinvestment continues in this budget. There is nowhere near enough money to make any real difference to the condition for rural and regional roads.
“Once again, Daniel Andrews and Labor show they have no interest in what happens outside the tram tracks.”