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Future plans of Gippsland road safety projects hindered and queries neglected amid rising road trauma

Darren Chester criticises the state and federal governments for delaying road safety projects amid increased road trauma. He seeks answers on funding and prioritises key highway projects.

By news@gippsland - 15th January 2024 - Back to News

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the state and federal governments are stalling road safety projects and refusing to answer basic questions on their future plans, despite increases in road trauma. Mr Chester has repeatedly sought written advice on funding which had been allocated by the previous federal government for road projects but had been ignored by Federal Minister for Transport Catherine King.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says important Princes Highway projects have stalled and the Minister for Transport is refusing to answer questions on future funding plans

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says important Princes Highway projects have stalled and the Minister for Transport is refusing to answer questions on future funding plans

Delayed responses

Mr Chester said, "This part-time Minister takes up to 10 months to respond to letters and I have been waiting since November last year for a simple response on projects such as the Eastern Beach Rd traffic signals in Lakes Entrance, Kalimna intersection upgrade, Power Station Rd improvements near Bairnsdale and Marine Parade in Lakes Entrance."

"The previous government allocated $300 million in the Federal Budget for Princes Highway works and I can't get a straight answer from Minister King regarding the amount of funding remaining, and the schedule for future works."

"After a year of increased road deaths and serious injuries, I would expect the state and federal governments to fast track road safety improvements but they are stuck in the slow lane and refusing to answer basic questions," he said.

Highway funding pathway

In his letter in November 2023, Mr Chester also highlighted the future highway funding priorities for Gippsland and offered to work with the Minister to secure additional funding and save lives. "Looking forward, I have several Princes Highway corridor priority projects in Gippsland which I would appreciate some guidance on the appropriate pathway forward to securing commitments in future budget cycles," Mr Chester wrote.

"I would also appreciate advice as to whether a region like Gippsland would be considered for 80-20 funding splits given its remoteness and high dependence on the Princes Highway corridor for access to markets, the visitor economy and local connectivity," he said.

Consultation on priorities

Mr Chester also said, "As a former Minister and local MP, I consult regularly and widely with my constituents on transport priorities and in terms of the Princes Highway, the most pressing projects following the completion of the duplication between Traralgon and Sale are:

  • Detailed design and planning for proposed Traralgon by-pass
  • Sale Alternative Route major upgrade
  • Princes Highway east additional overtaking lanes and safety upgrades

"Any assistance your office can provide in progressing these priority projects in consultation with the Victorian government would be appreciated as we seek to deliver safety and productivity benefits for locals and visitors to the region," Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


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