14 July 2023

Parliamentary committee to visit Wodonga to understand road problems

A parliamentary committee investigating the impact and effect of severe weather events on regional, rural, and remote roads will hear from local governments from across North East Victoria in a hearing in Wodonga on Monday July 17.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport will hold a public hearing to understand how severe weather has impacted on the road network, including what changes need to be made to ensure roads are more resilient in the future.

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines is a member of the committee and will attend the hearing on Monday.

“Everyone who drives on our roads understands the problems we face. Potholes are a major problem and the recent rain means many of our roads are dangerous.

“Every day there are more reports of damage to vehicles.

“But this inquiry is about more than potholes. Everyone remembers the absolutely unbelievable situation where a sink hole on the Gooramadda Road became a six-metre wide and two-metre deep ravine.

“The closure of the Bogong High Plains Road between Mount Beauty and Falls Creek shows the significant economic implications of road closures and there are many other examples across our region of long-term road or bridge closures that are affecting our communities.

Dr Haines said the committee was seeking to find solutions that would be more durable as the climate changes.

“This committee is about looking at ways we can ensure that when we fund roads across regional, rural and remote Australia that we are using the best road engineering and construction standards to improve the resilience of roads, that we are using more waterproof products and identifying the best corridors for future road construction.

“Local Government and state governments are mostly responsible for roads, but there is a role for federal government to play and I am glad this committee is exploring that.”

Local governments and organisations appearing at the hearing include Murrindindi Shire Council, Mansfield Shire Council, Strathbogie Shire Council, Yarra Ranges Council, Towong Shire, Goulburn Murray Climate Alliance, the Rural City of Wangaratta and Benalla Rural City Council.

“Local councils have an important perspective to give, especially more rural and remote councils, where there are more kilometres of road that aren’t covered by VicRoads, and the ratepayer base is smaller than in bigger cities or regional centres.

“As a member of the committee I worked hard to ensure our region had its voice heard, and this local hearing means committee members see and hear from local representatives and experience our local roads firsthand.”

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport will hold a public hearing at Huon Hill Conference Room from 9.30am to 2pm on Monday July 17. Media and the public are able to attend and proceedings will be livestreamed at aph.gov.au.

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