Wimmera Roads to Recovery cash fights in Canberra

THE Federal Government has slammed Labor for opposing legislation it claims will provide crucial funding for roads in the Wimmera.

The Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2014 passed through the House of Representatives on Wednesday despite the Opposition voting against it.

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said Roads to Recovery money would end if the legislation was blocked in the Senate.

“Roads to Recovery funding is vital in rural and regional electorates and if Labor and the Greens vote against the legislation in the Senate, the program will terminate,” he said.

The program is worth almost $6 million to Wimmera roads during the next financial year including $1.5 million in West Wimmera Shire, $1.2 million in both Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians shires, $1 million in Horsham Rural City and $850,000 in Hindmarsh Shire.

But Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the Coalition’s attempts to misrepresent the bill were pathetic, given there was no funding attached to the bill.

“It’s not a money bill. In terms of the Roads to Recovery funding it was the federal Labor government’s budget last year that increased Roads to Recovery funding and extended it to 2019,” he said.

“To say the roads will not be funded is complete nonsense.”

He said roads funding for the next five years had already been allocated in last year’s budget and any suggestion that the bill not going through the Senate would change funding was a ‘fantasy’.

“The bill did little more than eliminate the term nation building from the statue books as part of Mr Abbott’s agenda of rebadging Labor government programs,” he said.

Mr Tehan called on councils to petition Labor and the Greens to fight for the bill to be passed in the Senate.

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