Impasse over Shepparton bypass must be resolved
Labor’s state and Federal Governments must step up on behalf of the people and businesses of the Goulburn Valley by committing to and then fast-tracking the much-needed Shepparton bypass.
“The Shepparton bypass is a vital infrastructure project that will benefit the amenity of the community but also support the economic growth for the entire Goulburn Valley region,” Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said,
“In the short-term it will create jobs during the construction phase.”
“The continued intransigence by the State Labor Government over the by-pass shows the contempt the Government has for this vital part of Victoria that does so much to support the state’s economy.”
Calls for the Victorian Government to step up and take responsibility for the bypass have been made over the last month by the Greater Shepparton Council, the Shepparton Bypass Action Group, Victorian National Party MPs and local residents and business owners in the lead up to the state election, Senator McKenzie said.
Nationals Party candidate for Shepparton, Kim O’Keeffe said it is unbelievable to think that Shepparton is the only major regional city in Victoria without a bypass.
“The recent floods have only highlighted the critical and urgent need for investment into this project, something that we have been asking for many years.”
Only last month, major flooding saw the one causeway which connects Mooroopna and Shepparton cut off from each other, further highlighting the urgency for this critical infrastructure project to break ground.
The bypass project includes a second river crossing for Mooroopna and Shepparton in stage 1.
“The current causeway can no longer safely and efficiently support existing traffic volumes – around 30,000 vehicles travel along it each day and those numbers are growing,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It’s causing significant impacts far and wide for both residents and the freight and transport industry.”
Stage 1 of the bypass will remove heavy freight vehicles from the Shepparton and Mooroopna CBDs, improving safety, reducing noise and pollution as well as making for a more efficient movement of all vehicles, including avoiding 16 sets of traffic lights.
Senator McKenzie also highlighted to importance of our road freight and transport industry,
“This industry not only keeps Victoria moving but all of Australia – 25 per cent of Victoria’s trucks are registered in Greater Shepparton, we need to be supporting them to have comfortable routes so they can get home safely too.”
In an 80:20 funding split with the Victorian State Government, the former Coalition Government committed $208 million to stage 1 of the project.
Yet despite having finished a business case into the project, the State Government have not released this to council, nor have any further funding announcements been made.