The Nationals Member for Shepparton District, Kim O’Keeffe, this week in State Parliament, has called on the Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Danny Pearson to meet with Ms O’Keeffe and Greater Shepparton City Council to discuss the future of the Shepparton Bypass.
Ms O’Keeffe said “this would be an opportunity for the newly appointed Transport Infrastructure Minister to see the design of Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass and to come to the region to get an understanding of the desperate need for this critical project for the region.”
On November 16th, Federal Infrastructure Minister, Catherine King released the findings of the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Review, that announced Stage 1 of the Shepparton Bypass Project federal funding would be removed.
“$208 million had been committed by the former Federal Coalition Government, thanks to the hard work and dedication of former Federal Nationals Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum who lives in the region and saw firsthand the need of the Shepparton Bypass to progress our region.
“I have never seen the Federal Infrastructure Minister ever visit the region, yet she makes a decision to remove critical funding putting the Shepparton Bypass and the future development of our region at risk.
“The Victorian Government have already committed $10.2 million of Victorian taxpayers’ money, in the 2017-18 Victorian State Budget, for the early works and finalisation of the business case. In addition, the State Budget in May this year, allocated $1 million for planning of the Shepparton Bypass and improving links to Shepparton.
“This is a recent commitment to an active project that the State Government have supported for a substantial period of time and is one that the State Government is financially committed to. I will work closely with Minister Pearson to ensure that continues,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“It was astounding to hear that the Federal Infrastructure Minister, state that this project is one that does not demonstrate merit. This is astounding considering that 25 per cent of the state’s trucks are registered in the Shepparton region, and that number continues to grow, and Shepparton alone is the only major regional city across the state that does not have a bypass.
“We are one of the largest and most successful agriculture, manufacturing and industry suppliers with both national and global success. I would have also thought that community safety would have been merit as we have a constant convoy of trucks belting through the CBD of Shepparton and Mooroopna with vehicles having to navigate daily on a primitive unsafe road network.
“Greater Shepparton City Council have the Shepparton Bypass as a community priority project and the community are also calling for this important project for our region.
“We will keep fighting for this significant and much needed Bypass,” Ms O’Keeffe said.