Regional roads budget shake-up

Regional road upgrades across Victoria are the target of a $941 million state government package.

Premier Daniel Andrews was in Ballan last Thursday to announce the regional roads funding that is set to be included in the forthcoming state budget.

Under the package, Regional Roads Victoria (RRV), a new division of VicRoads, will be created. Based in Ballarat, it will have staff in regional centres across the state

Also as part of the $941 million package, grants totalling $100 million will be allocated to councils for road maintenance, repairs, resurfacing or rebuilding.

“A package this big, this significant, requires a fundamental change in the way in which we administer regional road funding,”
Mr Andrews said.

“As someone who grew up in country Victoria, I know how important safe and reliable roads are for regional communities.

“This ground-breaking investment will upgrade regional roads right across the state – and for the first time give our regional road network the direct attention it deserves.”

Moorabool mayor Paul Tatchell welcomed the funding, but said he was concerned smaller shires would struggle to match contributions from the government.

“This is good news for bigger regional shires like Ballarat,” he said. “My concern is that smaller shires will be run into debt.

“I’m happy to see investment into roads, but let’s prioritise and pour the money into roads that need doing.”

The regional roads package also includes $98 million for planning and pre-construction of new bypasses on the Western Highway at Beaufort and Ararat.

The state government is investing a further $229 million into road safety measures on Victoria’s most high-risk roads through the Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan, with more new overtaking lanes, rumble strips and intersection upgrades.

Key sections of the Calder Highway, Hamilton Highway and the Kiewa Valley Highway will be upgraded to improve safety, travel times and freight productivity.