Reintroducing ‘Fixing Country Roads’ Program Will Do Just That
Towong Shire Council Mayor Andrew Whitehead is advocating for the Victorian Government to reinstate a rural roads improvement program to help councils deal with the costs of road maintenance.
Roads in good condition are needed in rural areas for transport of produce, tourism and for people just to go about their daily lives.
Long periods of wet weather are contributing to deterioration in the condition of local roads which is being seen across the region.
With around 1200km of roads to maintain, Mayor Whitehead said there were significant costs in dealing with the local road network in Towong Shire Council given the rainfall the region has experienced.
“Maintaining our roads as well as providing all the other services and infrastructure for our communities is always a big challenge with the very small budget we have,” he said.
“Just last week Council staff and contractors were called to clear a landslide on Upper Murray Road caused by storms and with more wet weather expected we know this won’t be a one off”
“This financial year we have around $4million allocated to road maintenance and upgrades. Will it be enough?... probably not, but we know we just have to do the best we can with what we’ve got.”
The State Government’s Fixing Country Roads program carried out in 2018-19 and 2019-20 helped deliver more than 220 local roads projects for councils across the State.
There is currently no state-funded rural roads improvement program available.
“In our view, the State needs to reinstate the Fixing Country Roads Program to the tune of $200 million over four years,” Mayor Whitehead said.
“Every rural resident should be lobbying their local candidates for a commitment to reinstating this funding.”