2 FEBUARY 2023
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Leader of The Nationals in the Senate
Senator for Victoria
Dr Anne Webster MP
Federal Member for Mallee
Emma Kealy MP
State Member for Lowan
Deputy Leader of The Nationals in Victoria
Stawell and Horsham suffer from Labor’s $123 million cut to Western Highway upgrade
Western Victorian communities have been forgotten and ignored by State and Federal Labor with severe funding cuts and delays to the Western Highway upgrade.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the Albanese and Andrews Labor governments must answer for their apparent lack of interest in finishing the duplication of the Western Highway to Stawell and delivering on promised upgrades through to the South Australian border.
Visiting Ararat, Stawell and Horsham today, Senator McKenzie said major Western Highway intersections which were set to have upgrade works in 2022 have been pushed out until 2024-25 as a result of State and Federal Labor deciding to delay these projects.
Documents released at Senate Estimates exposed the delays to the $3.1 million project to install traffic lights at the Seaby Street and Western Highway intersection in Stawell and constructing a $4 million roundabout at the junction of the Henty Highway, Western Highway and Golf Course Road in Horsham.
“The Coalition Government funded these intersection upgrades in the 2021-22 budget and we fully expected the Andrews Labor Government to deliver – but they haven’t.
Labor’s October budget cut $123 million in Federal funding from the duplication of the Western Highway to Stawell and works to upgrade the Highway to the SA border over the life of this term of Parliament.
“These spending cuts to our regional communities have been inflicted by the Albanese Government as part of the cost of delivering $2.2 billion in the Budget for Dan Andrews Melbourne suburban rail loop.” Senator McKenzie said.
Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster said country Victorians should not have to suffer to pay for Labor’s unfunded city infrastructure.
“Western Victorians deserve to have safe infrastructure that manages movements of thousands of trucks and cars each day at standards city residents have enjoyed for decades.
Dr Webster said Labor have demonstrated they are not genuinely committed to fixing the Western Highway.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that Labor is yet again delaying another important road project intended to keep drivers safe and our supply chain flowing.
“Tens of thousands of cars and trucks travel along the Western Highway every single day, many of whom are the ones delivering fresh produce to those in the city and exporting goods overseas, they’re the ones who really keep this country running and they deserve to have smooth and safe roads to travel on.” Senator McKenzie said.
The former Coalition Government invested $420 million to complete the duplication of the Western Highway to Stawell and commence much needed upgrades from Stawell to the South Australian border.
The Victorian Labor Government are just as much to blame as their federal counterparts having bungled the delivery of this project.
Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said the community has lost patience with the never-ending delays on the Western Highway.
“The Andrews Labor Government has failed to provide safe roads for country Victorians – the Western Highway has never been in more dangerous condition.
“Dan Andrews needs to stand up for Victorians rather than stand with his Labor mates and demand Anthony Albanese put this funding for the Western Highway back on the table,” said Ms Kealy.
Senator McKenzie – Olympia | 0407 876 497
Dr Anne Webster MP – Angus Dearlove | 0427 310 770
Emma Kealy MP – (03) 5382 0097