Member for Shepparton District Kim O’Keeffe says a trucking business in her electorate faces more than $100,000 in unbudgeted repairs because of the appalling state of regional roads.
In Parliament this week Ms O’Keeffe demanded Roads and Road Safety Minister Melissa Horne tell regional Victorians “When will increased funding be provided for adequate repairs and maintenance to our roads before more lives are lost”?
She says the massive repair bill being run up by Leocata Transport is one thing, but owner Adrian Leocata is even more concerned for the safety of the people driving his 74 trucks.
“Mr Leocata says the burden on his drivers is even higher as they have to also worry about the safety of other road users as they all struggle to weave around potholes, crumbling edges and whole strips of road simply chewed up and riddled with cracks and bitumen waves,” Ms O’Keeffe says.
“Shadow Roads Minister Danny O’Brien and I recently caught up with Mr Leocata on the Tatura-Murchison Rd – a major truck route with a high volume of heavy vehicles as well as cars every day of the year,” she says.
“And it is blindingly obvious this road is not only deteriorating from a lack of maintenance and repairs; it is simply no longer fit for purpose.
“Mr Leocata tells us the road is dangerously narrow, causing trucks to try and navigate passing each other while also trying to avoid the potholes and other safety risks.”
Ms O’Keeffe says the tragedy is, this is “just one of way too many” unsafe roads in her region.
She says the current standard of work, where it is being done, is appalling, and still leaving roads unsafe.
“The works being done are falling apart not long after the repairs are done – travelling on the Echuca road last week when I came across a dangerous, patched-up part of the road that you had to drive around,” Ms O’Keeffe added.
“If you didn’t see it, or thought you could still drive over it, you faced certain damage, or worse,” she says.
Ms OKeeffe told the Parliament that she “found it astounding” Minster Horne has publicly boasted about the great work being done by her government and the millions of dollars being spent on the challenge.
“I can assure the Minister that’s not happening in my electorate, and that’s why – on behalf of my constituents – I am asking for her explanation of when all regional Victoria will get some long, long overdue funding and repair.
“If this government is allegedly investing millions of dollars in reginal roads, I’d like to know where, when, how much and how the schedule rolls out to cover all regional Victoria.”