Lowan MP Emma Kealy against splitting VicRoads into country and metro organisations

State Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

State Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

STATE Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said a revamped VicRoads could better serve country Victorians.

Ms Kealy said a recent suggestion from a Lowan constituent for a state licensing and registration body and a separate roads asset management unit was worthy of debate.

It comes on the back of a parliamentary motion from state Member for Western Victoria James Purcell to replace VicRoads with separate country and metro organisations.

Ms Kealy said such a move would likely lead to increased bureaucratic red tape and was unlikely to improve regional roads, but did not rule out a revamp of VicRoads in some form.

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“If there was more focus on infrastructure, and there was a more efficient funding split, that might be something that’s worth looking at,” she said.

“I don’t think splitting VicRoads into country and metro organisations is the answer.

“The rebranding and restructure costs and the increased numbers of administrative staff would likely mean less money for roads and more being spent on bureaucracy.”

Port Fairy-based Upper House Member Mr Purcell told The Standard the idea to split VicRoads was borne out of frustration at decades of inaction over the poor state of south-west roads.

“By repeating what you do you don’t improve, so you need to change,” Mr Purcell said.

“It’s time we had a serious look at the way it actually operates.

“We’re calling for VicRoads to be split into country and city roads so we get some attention in the country.”

Mr Purcell said having a body specifically dedicated to country roads would allow communities to have greater influence over which roads received attention.

Ms Kealy said state Labor had cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the roads budget and roads were continuing to deteriorate in the west of the state.

“There are no excuses left to leave the roads in the state they are currently in,” she said.

“The sale of the Port of Melbourne has given the state the money it needs to do the work. They now need to commit that money to improving the terrible condition of our roads.”

Mr Purcell’s proposal was due be read in parliament this week, but was not likely to be debated until sometime next month.

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