Funding cuts and spin is Labor’s approach to rural roads

Despite rural motorists still driving on roads full of potholes and crumbling surfaces, Roads Minister Ben Carroll was glowing in his self-praise for the work the Andrews Labor Government is apparently doing to fix rural roads in Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings today.

Despite repeated claims by this inner city-based Minister that the Andrews Labor Government was making significant improvements to rural and regional roads and investing more money, the budget papers show in black and white that road asset maintenance funding is down to $616 million in 2021/22 from $823 million in 2020/21.

Budget papers also show standards for road surface roughness and cracking have been lowered year-on-year, meaning Labor isn’t aiming for further improvements in these key areas. When asked why, the Minister couldn’t answer and passed it to a bureaucrat.

The Minister and his department can spin all they want, but it’s in black and white that when it comes to regional roads, Labor is all about cuts.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Roma Britnell:

“Ben Carroll can say the Andrews Labor Government is improving roads till he’s blue in the face – but regional motorists know it’s simply not true.

“Labor has been in government for 17 of the past 20 years – they have overseen the deterioration of regional roads in that time and they continue to cut the budget and lower road condition standards.

“All we see from Labor is band-aid repairs that fail after a few months and do nothing to fix the root cause of the problem.

“It’s astounding Ben Carroll can be so glowing in his praise of the work being done to fix regional roads – because the reports I get from regional motorists and from my own experience driving around the state, our roads have never been in worse condition.”

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