The announcement of a $941 million regional roads package by the Victorian Government is good news for our regions, and is a win for RACV’s continuous and strong lobbying on this vital issue.
Victorians have been disappointed with the ongoing decline in the condition of Victoria’s country highway network, affecting people living and working in, and visiting, Victoria’s regions. This was further exemplified by an independent analysis commissioned by RACV, followed by a 2017 Auditor General’s report into maintaining state-controlled roads, which both found that maintenance expenditure was inadequate and the condition of network was declining. The Auditor-General also highlighted serious issues within VicRoads about how the network was being managed and works planned.
“RACV’s own market research found that drivers were constantly frustrated with the condition of road surfaces. Victoria-wide, dissatisfaction was over 40%, reaching nearly 50% in south-west and western Victoria. Moreover, over 50 per cent of respondents believed that the maintenance and repair of regional roads would be better if Vicroads was separated into metropolitan and regional authorities” said Dave Jones, Manager of Mobility Advocacy
“It is pleasing to see that the Government has listened to RACV, and is establishing a new division – Regional Roads Victoria – to oversee regional road maintenance and construction. This is an important step towards greater transparency about Victoria’s roads, along with being more open with their road condition data and adopting star ratings for road safety”, Mr Jones said.
This additional funding is good news, however RACV would still like to see the full details and scope of Regional Roads Victoria to ensure this new body has the potential to achieve its objectives.
“What will be important now is what roads will be fixed and when. Every winter, the State’s cracked roads get worse. In late 2016, we estimated that nearly 1,500km were distressed and urgently needing attention.
“Regional Roads Victoria will need to demonstrate transparency and a commitment to consult with local communities to better prioritise projects.“