The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Wimmera still waiting

- With Dr Anne Webster Federal Member for Mallee

Ihave continued to fight hard for answers regarding Wimmera projects that are subject to the Federal Government’s 90-day infrastruc­ture review.

As of November 1, it is 184 days since Infrastruc­ture Minister Catherine King announced the review of the former Coalition government’s $120-billion Infrastruc­ture Pipeline, which has caused further delays for critical road projects which are much needed in the Wimmera.

These include the Horsham roundabout, traffic lights at the Seaby Street and Western Highway intersecti­on in Stawell and the completion of the duplicatio­n of the Western Highway from Ararat to Stawell.

The Coalition budgeted $4 million in 20212022 for the Horsham roundabout, a well known and dangerous intersecti­on merging the Henty Highway with the Western Highway and Golf Course Road, as well as $360 million in 2019 for the Western Highway duplicatio­n.

The Seaby Street traffic lights project received $3.1 million of funding from the former Coalition government in the 2021-22 budget.

The people of Wimmera told me roads remained a significan­t issue when I conducted ‘Mallee’s Biggest Survey’ earlier this year, and the now ‘under review’ projects would go a long way towards making travelling through the Wimmera much safer for drivers.

The Western Highway, for example, is a key thoroughfa­re between Adelaide and Melbourne.

Much-needed measures such as duplicatin­g lanes, traffic lights and roundabout­s would ease safety concerns with large trucks and cars sharing the road.

So far the Minister has resisted calls to consult with me directly on 90-day review projects from right across Mallee, including when I openly invited her to do so in Parliament House recently.

She has instead spoken through the media about how lengthy the report is and how she would consult with her state and territory colleagues.

The safety of those who travel Wimmera roads is on hold while the Minister discusses with her urban-centred Labor politician­s with little appreciati­on for the challenges faced by regional Australian­s.

It is time for answers, and then for action so these projects can be completed and road safety improved.

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