Road funding not Wire Rope Barrier funding

June 19, 2019

Member for Polwarth, Richard Riordan MP has asked the Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC in Parliament “to urgently quarantine funding from VicRoads’ usual maintenance fund so that these funds are not used for ongoing maintenance and repair of the wire rope barriers that are being rolled out.

“In the Colac Herald of Thursday, 18 April, after many queries and the public questioning of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and VicRoads, they made it very clear to the public at the time that all barrier repairs and maintenance were covered for the life of the barrier from the contributions of the Towards Zero action plan.

“Last week in the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings we heard very clearly from the director of VicRoads that this in fact was not the case, that in fact VicRoads and the department had misled the community, who have had ongoing concerns about the much-published and much-vaunted 3500 hits last year to the wire rope barriers, which the government has used as a justification for this extravagant and excessive rollout of road safety measures, when in fact everyone in country Victoria knows if the potholes are not fixed, if the edges are not safe, if the roadside maintenance is not kept up, then people are just not going to be safe on the road no matter how much you spend.

“VicRoads’ director made it very clear that they were not being funded by the TAC, as was reported in the Colac Herald of Thursday, 18 April 2019, and has been continually repeated in ads and expensive marketing by VicRoads.

“In fact they made it very clear that funding for potholes, road edges, roadside maintenance and clearing — general day-to-day safety measures — will have to be removed from them to maintain the wire rope barriers. The wire rope barriers are unsafe when damaged.

“As I said in PAEC last week, travelling down the highway I have lost count of the amount of damaged and broken wire rope barriers that now litter — up to four rows of them per roadway — in an east and west direction on the Princes Highway West, and that is just the road that I go on regularly, let alone the road to Ballarat, the Geelong Freeway and other major roads around the State.

“This is a growing and out-of-control cost problem, and the Minister and the State Government must assure country road users that their basic road maintenance and safety is not going to be adversely jeopardised and put at risk because of the government’s current obsession with this one particular technology.

“The facts speak for themselves: the road toll is sitting at 80 per cent higher than it has been for 14 years, and that is after nearly a billion dollars has been spent on this one particular technology at the expense of basic road maintenance,” Mr Riordan said.