Rural Councils Victoria is calling on all candidates in the upcoming federal election to commit to helping save lives and create jobs by funding much-needed repairs to Victoria’s rural road network.
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“Drivers in rural Victoria are more than four times more likely to be killed on the roads because unmaintained country roads are dangerous.
“Federal candidates can help solve the issue by committing to:
“With small ratepayer populations, limited sources of revenue and thousands of kilometres of roads to maintain, rural councils are struggling to maintain the key road links that keep Australia’s produce and resource economy going.
“The road maintenance burden on rural councils and rural communities is immense, 75 per cent of Australia’s road network length is managed by local councils, there is a $1.2 billion backlog in rural Australia and $30 billion of council-owned infrastructure assets are in need of urgent maintenance or replacement.
“For rural councils, the gap between revenue and infrastructure expenditure is growing.
“Councils like West Wimmera Shire on the South Australian border, which has just over 4,500 people yet manages nearly 3000km of roads, are facing an insurmountable challenge of maintaining an extensive road network on a shoestring budget.
“Regional Victoria produces one third of the state’s exports, and the regional road network is the link holding these economies together.
“When rural road links break down, so do rural businesses, adding thousands of dollars in fleet maintenance and overheads.
“This is costing money that businesses could spend on investing in their business and expanding their workforces. “We need our federal candidates to commit to funding for rural and regional roads. Lives, jobs and livelihoods are at risk.”