RACV has called for an injection of $4.6 billion in regional Victoria over the next decade to address critical road and public transport deficiencies, which are limiting the travel opportunities for regional communities and putting the brakes on economic development. Investment in the projects identified in ‘Growing Pains in Regional Victoria’ is urgently needed to support liveability and economic growth in Victoria.
The projects identified will improve travel to and within regional Victoria and provide greater transport choice for how people travel. Key connections that affect the whole of regional Victoria are necessary to provide safer roads and create the links and capacity to cater for current and future demand in regional Victoria.
The road, public transport, cycling and walking projects needed in Ballarat, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Greater Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga have been identified. These ten local government areas are home to the largest regional cities outside metropolitan Melbourne, with wellestablished economies and the potential to expand further.
While it is difficult to cover local issues in every regional town and community, RACV believes the relevant transport planning principles included in this report should be applied across the state. In all regional areas, roads should be safe and well-maintained and where possible, public transport access to and between towns and railway stations should be provided.
RACV wants to see a balanced and integrated approach to the transport needs for regional Victoria so that our regional cities, smaller rural communities and urban fringe areas continue to be great places to live. We simply cannot rely on the drip-feed of annual budgets to fill the backlog of projects needed in regional Victoria. An ongoing program of works is needed; one that includes the road network, the rail network, the principal bicycle network and the essential public transport services to operate on the infrastructure. Investment in roads should benefit all road users by providing footpaths, separated cycling facilities, bus stops and space for private and commercial vehicles. Strong bipartisan support is required for the transport vision and projects we have proposed now, rather than developing more plans that result in additional years of delay.
On behalf of our two million members, RACV calls on the Federal and State Governments to adopt our blueprint of road and public transport projects in regional Victoria and deliver an accelerated and ongoing program of works over the next decade. The State Government must work with regional Victorian councils and commit to a pipeline of regional transport projects that will be integrated with the ‘Plan Melbourne’ strategy for metropolitan Melbourne. The Victorian Government, with support from the Federal Government, needs to develop a long-term investment strategy. Innovative funding methods that include borrowing at a state and federal level and engagement of the private sector through public-private partnerships are needed to ensure successful delivery of this plan.
Download a copy of the Regional Growing Pains report here.