Mayor: $60m for highway makes good sense

Published on 14 May 2019

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Corangamite Shire Mayor Neil Trotter has thanked the Federal Government for the $60m it has committed for upgrading the Princes Highway.

He said advocacy by the Princes Highway West Action Alliance, of which Corangamite Shire is a member, had paid off, and thanked Member for Wannon Dan Tehan for his role in securing the funding.

“The Corangamite Shire welcomes the recent funding commitment by the Federal Government to fund improvements to the Princes Highway west of Colac,” Cr Trotter said.

“The respective announcements commit over $140 million to two projects.”

Cr Trotter said the funding was contingent on a contribution of at least 20% in matching funding by the State Government.

“Council feels that a $30 million contribution would be a great deal for the State Government in order to achieve a $140 million spend at a federal level,” he said.

“The combined total would achieve a $170 million injection to improve the Princes highway west of Colac.”

Freight movement from the South-West is a major earner for the state economy. The region’s $1.8 billion agriculture sector produces a third of Victoria’s beef, a third of its dairy, a third of its lamb and one quarter of its wool.

“Transport operators have been highlighting the need for improvements to the highway for many years and Local Government has compiled hard data on the cost to industry of a substandard road network,” Cr Trotter said.

“The cost of doing business for local operators is two thirds higher than for their metropolitan counterparts.”

Cr Trotter said tourism—another major earner for the state, region and Shire—would also benefit from highway upgrades.

“Ninety per cent of the traffic that travels down the Great Ocean Road returns to Melbourne via the Princes Highway,” he said.

“We have a volatile mix of heavy freight, tourist coaches and mini buses, and independent travellers all using this one corridor.

“The recent improvements to the highway from Melbourne to Colac bear testimony to the improved safety and travel times for people using the highway.

“The resultant benefits to economies of those towns along the route are self-evident. We would like to see those benefits extend westward. 

“If we take the politics out of the equation it makes good economic sense to have improved transport links to the productive South-West.

“This is a highly productive region that punches well above its weight in contributing to the state economy.

“A $30 million spend by the state will result in a $170 million boost to the infrastructure of the South-West. It is not a bad deal.”

Cr Trotter said the latest funding was a good start to implementing the strategy for the Princes Highway West which the Great South Coast Infrastructure Group has calculated will need $300 million.