Rural Councils Victoria is calling for a dedicated rural “Build Back Better” fund in the wake of the ongoing floods crisis across the state.
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“Following the state election, we need the next state government to establish a betterment fund to ensure that roads and other assets are repaired or replaced to a standard that can withstand future natural disasters.”
“The dedicated betterment, or build back better, fund will help ensure that ‘Build Back Better’ is more than just an empty slogan.”
“Rural councils across the state – many of which have borne the brunt of the floods – are still assessing the damage, but repairs to the required standard are likely to total billions of dollars.”
“Each rural council is responsible for thousands of kilometres of local roads but don’t have the rate base to be able to afford adequate road repairs, even in normal times.”
“Victoria’s food producers, manufacturers, transport operators and residents need a dedicated fund to ensure that roads are constructed, repaired or reconstructed to a standard that can withstand frequent natural disasters. This means genuine long-term thinking.”
“Investing more up front can lower, and in some cases eliminate, repair costs following future natural disasters.
“Poor and damaged rural roads costs everyone in the state. They slow down and damage farm and transport vehicles, pushing up the cost of labour and repairs. All of which is paid for with higher prices for food and other items at the supermarket and elsewhere.”
“Road users in rural Victoria are over four times more likely to die on our roads than those in Melbourne.”
“With flooding continuing to wash away and damage roads, it is time that a Victoria-wide roads emergency is declared,” Cr Brown said.
The investment in urgent repairs and the betterment fund are additional to the road funding asks in RCV’s State Election Platform – launched before the floods – which calls for: