Gippsland › Latest news › Darren Chester MP

Blame for road safety peril in Gippsland and regional Australia lays with Albanese Labor government says Darren Chester

Darren Chester criticises Minister's inaction on critical road projects, fears for lives, and highlights bureaucratic roadblocks in infrastructure development.

By news@gippsland - 24th August 2023 - Back to News

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says lives are in danger on roads in Gippsland and across regional Australia because of the federal government's failure to support local projects. With the deadline for the 90-day Strategic Review of the Infrastructure Investment Program passing without the release of the report, Mr Chester said local communities had no idea whether promised funding for road safety works will ever be delivered by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local government Catherine King.

A King-sized pothole? Darren Chester says funding to improve safety on the Princes Highway is in limbo because of delays in the review process initiated by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King

A King-sized pothole? Darren Chester says funding to improve safety on the Princes Highway is in limbo because of delays in the review process initiated by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King

Delay impacting safety

Mr Chester said, "The Minister has refused to engage constructively with me from the moment she accepted the job. It took her 10 months to even reply to seven letters I wrote to her on behalf of my community about critical road projects, and now she can't even deliver her own razor gang review on time. The deadline for the 90 day review has passed and we've heard absolutely nothing."

"There are several projects across Gippsland where funding was secured from the previous federal government but work has failed to progress as a result of the state government's unwillingness to contribute just 20% of the costs."

"We are talking about more than $30 million worth of works on the Princes Highway, Mallacoota-Genoa Rd and the Sale alternative route which are in limbo because the Minister won't do her job. I'm extremely concerned that people will be killed and injured on these roads unless the safety projects are delivered," Mr Chester said.

Concerns over infrastructure

Mr Chester made a written submission to the infrastructure review and was scathing of the Victorian government's approach to road safety projects in Gippsland. "From a regional Victorian perspective I am acutely aware of the level of dysfunctionality and bureaucratic buck-passing which has become entrenched in the state-federal infrastructure program."

"Lives are being lost and much-needed productivity and connectivity gains are being sacrificed while bureaucrats fail to reach agreement on funding contributions and profiles for projects which have overwhelming community support. I fear this review process is simply putting at risk projects that I have been working on to improve infrastructure outcomes for our region for several years. Every project is getting more expensive while we wait for the outcomes of this review," Mr Chester said.

Infrastructure neglect in Gippsland

Mr Chester added, "The federal government's Infrastructure Investment Program should have an increased focus on saving lives in our regions, not just saving minutes for city commuters. After 16 months in government, there's not a single major infrastructure project underway in Gippsland that was funded by the Labor government."

"If you see a bulldozer, grader or crane working on a public project in our region you can be certain it wasn't funded by the Albanese government and this incompetent Infrastructure Minister who doesn't want to build anything," Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


Published by:

Edit this news article

Baw Baw Bass Coast Cardinia East Gippsland Latrobe City South Gippsland Wellington
© 2001-2024 Print this page | Subscribe to Newsletter | Feedback / Inquiries | Login
Care has been taken in compiling the component parts of this website. However, does not warrant or represent that the website is free from errors or omissions, that the qualifications claimed by an advertiser are valid or that the published details of any advertiser are as stated on the website. Please review the full statement of our Terms and Conditions of Service and disclaimer.