Safety con­cerns over re­gional roads be­ing in dire con­di­tion

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FARM SAFETY -

GAME Au­di­tor-Gen­eral con­firms RACV mem­bers’ fears – our re­gional roads are in a dire con­di­tion

To­day’s re­port by Vic­to­ria’s Au­di­tor- Gen­eral con­firms RACV’s mem­ber re­search that Vic­to­ria’s re­gional roads are in a poor con­di­tion, pos­ing a risk to public safety.

In ad­di­tion to the public safety im­pli­ca­tions, road users are pay­ing more for re­pairs to their ve­hi­cles – in­clud­ing high fuel con­sump­tion, sus­pen­sion dam­age and tyre wear due to the de­prived state of our re­gional roads.

The Au­di­tor-Gen­eral states that the cur­rent road man­age­ment sys­tem is largely based on his­tor­i­cal prac­tices, and this an­ti­quated model does not ac­count for mod­ern-day net­work needs.

“It’s not sur­pris­ing that nearly 70 per cent of RACV mem­bers sur­veyed this year said they are dis­sat­is­fied with road sur­face con­di­tions, and over half be­lieve that ru­ral roads are not ad­e­quately funded – par­tic­u­larly when this re­port con­firms the grav­ity of the prob­lem” said Dave Jones, RACV’s Man­ager of Roads and Traf­fic.

More­over, the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral con­firms there are no plans in place to en­sure Vic­to­ri­ans have a safe and well-main­tained road net­work suited to car­ry­ing cars, heav­ier trucks and bikes. In the nine years since the last au­dit, the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral notes that there has been no progress made to the much-needed fund­ing ap­proaches re­quired to man­age the net­work.

“RACV notes that even after the 2017 Vic­to­rian Bud­get spend­ing al­lo­ca­tion, the pro­por­tion of dis­tressed roads will not be re­duced, and an es­ti­mated $1.2 bil­lion is needed over four years just to fix the worst of them” Mr Jones said.

RACV is seek­ing a road restora­tion pro­gram of $1.2 bil­lion over four years ($300 mil­lion per year) to strengthen and resur­face Vic­to­ria’s most dis­tressed roads within four years, in ad­di­tion to the nor­mal road main­te­nance bud­get.

A pro­gram of this scale should achieve ef­fi­cien­cies that will also en­able safer in­fra­struc­ture to be in­cluded.

“The Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment must en­act a clear plan to en­sure the pro­por­tion of dis­tressed roads is re­duced as well as a sus­tain­able fund­ing model and clear ac­count­abil­ity to en­sure the right roads are pri­ori­tised at the right time” Mr Jones said.

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