Gippsland › Latest news › Darren Chester MP

Darren Chester criticises Minister King and Prime Minister Albanese for not backing Gippsland road safety projects

Local MP Darren Chester accuses the federal government of neglecting road safety projects in Gippsland, risking lives due to unallocated funds and Ministerial incompetence. Concerns raised about potential funding cuts and lack of progress.

By news@gippsland - 19th June 2023 - Back to News

Gippslanders are at risk of being killed and injured on roads which could have been fixed if the federal government released funding which was already in previous budgets, according to local MP Darren Chester. Mr Chester has slammed Minister for Transport Catherine King and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for failing to support road safety projects which were funded by the previous Coalition government. "It's Princes Highway robbery with money going missing that could help to improve safety and save lives," Mr Chester said.

Mr. Chester accused the government of

Mr. Chester accused the government of "Princes Highway robbery" with missing funds meant for safety improvements and lives

Funding delays frustration

Mr Chester said, "There was $300 million allocated for the Princes Highway in Victoria in 2019, and due to the state and federal government bureaucrats working at a snail's pace, there were millions leftover when Labor took office. Some projects have been completed but others remain at the planning stage and the funding is now in jeopardy."

"I have repeatedly asked the new government to guarantee the funding, and confirm how much is left in the program, but my questions are ignored.
"This week, the Minister was too arrogant to even attend the consideration-in-detail debate in Federal Parliament where Opposition MPs have the opportunity to ask questions about the budget."

"All regional road safety projects that were already funded should be quarantined from any budget cuts and the Minister and her Department need to stop blocking important life-saving projects from proceeding before we have more road trauma," he said.

Safety projects neglected

Mr Chester also said, "My fear is people will be killed and injured on sections of road that we have identified as requiring work and the money is not being spent because of Ministerial incompetence. Victoria owns the highway and the federal government can't force it to do anything but we've been offering 80% of funding for projects and they still can't get the work done."

"Minister Catherine King has had more than a year in the job and her first big decision is to have a review into all projects that haven't started construction. We have no pipeline of future projects because this Minister refuses to do her day job and even consider road safety initiatives that were already budgeted for in 2019."

"There's more than $30 million of road safety projects in Gippsland that could be cut as part of this razor gang review of infrastructure spending and lives will be lost as a direct result," he said.

Funding allocation concerns

Mr Chester said he was particularly concerned about the funding which had been allocated and announced for four Princes Highway projects in East Gippsland: McEacharn Street roundabout in Bairnsdale, Kalimna intersection and pathway upgrades, Marine Parade safety upgrade in Lakes Entrance, and Eastern Beach Road traffic lights in Lakes Entrance. "I'm also worried about the $10 million allocated to Mallacoota-Genoa Rd because construction hasn't started and the Minister has refused to guarantee funding is still available."

"The Albanese government has not started a single infrastructure project in Gippsland since it was elected. Every project that is underway at the moment was funded by the previous government and there's no guarantee of future funding. Too many people are killed and injured on sub-standard regional roads and this government has refused to approve projects and get the work done," he 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.