The Nationals Member for Shepparton District, Kim O’Keeffe, has urged the Victorian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, to safeguard the $208 million already committed to the Shepparton Bypass.
Speaking during Parliament on Tuesday, O’Keeffe urged Minister Allan to appeal to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, to ensure that the Bypass remains as an active and ongoing project.
“We do not want to see the Shepparton Bypass scrapped by the Federal Labor Government’s independent infrastructure review, I want the Minister to ensure that she protects the millions of taxpayer dollars already committed to this vital project,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
The former Federal Coalition Government contributed $208 million after an initial $10.2 million was enshrined in the 2017-18 Victorian Budget for early works and finalisation of the business case.
The 2023-24 Victorian Budget has allocated $1 million for ‘planning the Shepparton Bypass and improving links in Shepparton’.
“When the October 2022 floods shut down the Peter Ross Edwards Causeway, the impact was utter chaos, and delaying our first responders to be where they needed to be, was potentially life threatening,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
Further highlighting the need for a commitment from the State Government, Ms O’Keeffe said while the region serves as a significant transport hub and 25 percent of the state’s trucks are registered in the Goulburn Valley, Shepparton remains the only major regional city without a bypass.
Ms O’Keeffe has written to Minister Allan and in Parliament, urged her to visit to see the detrimental impact on residents, tourists, and local businesses firsthand.
“Minister, you are well aware of the long history and the critical need of this project, we need this Bypass, and the future of this is in your hands now,” she said.
“Failure to save the Shepparton Bypass from further delays or abandonment, has a detrimental impact on our region. I ask you to ensure that the Shepparton Bypass remain a priority project.”