Speed de­bate turns ugly

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - By Kenji Sato

De­bate over whether to re­duce the speed limit on Vic­to­rian coun­try roads has turned ugly, with La­bor and The Na­tion­als ac­cus­ing one an­other of en­dan­ger­ing the lives of lo­cal peo­ple.

Deputy Na­tion­als leader and Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan said the La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s plan to re­duce speeds to 70 km/h on some dirt roads was a ‘‘band-aid fix’’ that ig­nored the prob­lem of poorly main­tained roads.

‘‘Our roads have de­te­ri­o­rated sig­nif­i­cantly as a re­sult of La­bor’s fund­ing cuts,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s sim­ple: if you fix coun­try roads, you save coun­try lives. What we need is for Daniel An­drews to fund the main­te­nance of our roads, not to lower the speed limit.’’

Ms Ryan said La­bor had ne­glected the pot­holes and cracked roads through Sey­mour and the sur­round­ing ar­eas in favour of roads closer to the city.

‘‘This is the lat­est ex­am­ple of a nanny state from a city-based gov­ern­ment with no un­der­stand­ing of or care for the day-to-day chal­lenges we face as coun­try peo­ple,’’ she said.

‘‘If Daniel An­drews re­ally cared about road safety, he would not have slashed the coun­try roads bud­get so dras­ti­cally in the first place.’’

But Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes said The Na­tion­als’ claims were hyp­o­crit­i­cal, given that the Coali­tion had spent even less on road main­te­nance.

‘‘The facts are the Vic-Roads main­te­nance bud­get was $157 mil­lion in the last year of the Liberal-Na­tional Gov­ern­ment. This year La­bor have al­lo­cated $343.2 mil­lion to main­te­nance,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘La­bor knows roads are the lifeblood of coun­try com­mu­ni­ties, that’s why we’re in­vest­ing more than ever be­fore to make our coun­try roads safer.

‘‘Since com­ing to of­fice, the An­drews La­bor Gov­ern­ment has dou­bled spend­ing on road main­te­nance.’’

Ms Symes ac­cused The Na­tion­als of ‘‘de­lib­er­ately mis­lead­ing’’ the pub­lic and us­ing the deaths of coun­try peo­ple for po­lit­i­cal gain.

‘‘Turn­ing this into a po­lit­i­cal tit-for-tat is dis­re­spect­ful to those who have lost loved ones on our roads,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re rolling out more than 1700 km of wire rope bar­ri­ers, up­grad­ing road shoul­ders and widen­ing cen­tre lines on the state’s most dan­ger­ous coun­try roads.

‘‘I know there is much to be done on coun­try roads and our gov­ern­ment is fo­cused on get­ting on with the job.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.