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Community awaits $10 million road upgrade promised by Federal Minister Catherine King as Mallacoota-Genoa Rd deteriorates. Delays raise safety concerns, with unclear funding status despite previous commitments.

By news@gippsland - 10th October 2023 - Back to News

The Mallacoota-Genoa Rd is continuing to fall apart while the community waits on the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King to deliver a promised $10 million upgrade. Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester drove to Mallacoota this week and found sections of the road had been neglected since the Albanese government was elected last year. "Even though this is a state-owned road, I was able to secure funding from the previous federal government for some much-needed safety improvements which were completed two years ago."

Darren Chester says the failure to upgrade the Mallacoota-Genoa Rd with a promised $10 million is due to a review undertaken by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King

Darren Chester says the failure to upgrade the Mallacoota-Genoa Rd with a promised $10 million is due to a review undertaken by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King

Minister halts road

Mr Chester said, "On top of the widening and road surfacing work that was completed, we were promised another $10 million to improve the resilience of the road and reduce the risk to motorists but the new Minister has put that project on hold. This is the Minister who announced a 90 day review of the infrastructure program more than 150 days ago and the Mallacoota-Genoa Rd project has been stalled as a result."

"We have no idea whether the money will be delivered, despite the fact that our region was severely impacted by the Black Summer bushfires and this road was a major problem during that disaster," Mr Chester said.

Infrastructure program delays

Mr Chester said the delays to the federal infrastructure program meant that prices would increase, less work would be done, and the failure to start delivering road safety projects was putting people's lives at risk. Even the Labor government in Victoria is confused about the future of the project with a statement on the Regional Roads Victoria website indicating the review had forced delays:

"The upgrades are proposed only. We will now undertake further investigations over the next six months including cultural and environmental assessments, preliminary design, and native title assessments. The investigations will help us identify the final program of works to be delivered."

"Getting the project right to improve the safety and resilience of the road whilst minimising environmental impact is important and takes time. It is unlikely that construction will commence in mid-2023 as originally scheduled. We understand how important Mallacoota-Genoa Road is to the local community and we are committed to getting works happening on the ground as soon as possible," he said.

Road safety concerns

Mr Chester said it wasn't good enough, and locals and visitors would face another fire season with a poorly maintained road. "The whole point of the $10 million funding was to improve safety and increase the resilience of this transport corridor to reduce the length of closures due to storms and fires."

"It's a complete disgrace. I fear that lives will be lost and people will be seriously injured on sections of this road that we had secured funding for in the past, but this incompetent Federal Minister is now blocking the upgrades," Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


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