VicRoads' country roads management under the microscope

The Henty Highway at Kewell.
The Henty Highway at Kewell.

WIMMERA people can influence a parliamentary inquiry into country roads management.

The Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee will examine VicRoads’ country roads management, including the organisation’s effectiveness, its existing funding model, and a lack of consultation with regional communities.

The inquiry will also look at the option of creating a specific country roads organisation, and a separate metropolitan roads body.

It comes as Member for Lowan Emma Kealy this week called for urgent funding to fix country roads during a speech in parliament.

Her comments followed a fatal truck crash near Willaura last month.

“Tragically, my deep concern regarding the safety of our country roads was realised when a truck driver sadly lost his life on the Maroona-Glenthompson Road,” she said.

Ms Kealy said a higher number of trucks than normal were using the road because an alternate route at Rossbridge was closed.

“The government have had over a year to ensure the Maroona-Glenthompson Road is in a suitable condition to handle additional truck traffic, but terrible road maintenance has resulted in numerous potholes and significant drop-offs on the shoulders,” she said.

“This road, like many roads in the Lowan electorate, is simply too narrow for heavy truck traffic, is riddled with potholes and significant shoulder drop-offs, and is unsafe to be a major truck route

“It is simply not good enough that our roads are so poorly maintained that locals are putting their lives at risk when people are just doing a job they love, taking the kids to school or going to footy or netball training.”

Inquiry committee chairman Geoff Howard said people relied on well-maintained country roads to conduct their daily lives.

He encouraged people to make a submission to the inquiry.

“The committee will be considering how country roads should be managed into the future, to ensure that the needs of people throughout regional Victoria are being met,” he said.

“Through the submissions we receive and the public hearings we host, the committee will be collecting evidence from people across Victoria.

“That evidence will help the committee to make recommendations that address issues of concern to the community.”

Mr Howard said people could make submissions to the inquiry by emailing lrrcsc@parliament.vic.gov.au; using the submission form at www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lrrcsc/article/3977; or by writing to The executive officer, Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee, Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne, Victoria, 3002.

Submissions can be made until January 15.