The Hon. Beverley McArthur, Member for Western Victoria and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Road Safety, Media Release, 15 May 2023
Due to cost saving measures, the NSW Government chose not to light up the Sydney Opera House to celebrate one of the biggest global events for decades, the King’s Coronation.
Yet Victoria, the state whose debt is greater than the combined debt of NSW, Queensland and Tasmania, will illuminate multiple iconic venues across Victoria in yellow this week.
It is being done in the memory of those “impacted by road trauma, to mark National Road Safety Week.”
While the symbolism and education is worthy, Member for Western Victoria and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Road Safety, Bev McArthur, said the Government’s money would be better spent actually fixing the state’s dreadful roads.
“As New South Wales seems to understand, when money is tight, you make tough decisions, even if people disagree,” Mrs McArthur said.
“If ever there was a time when belt tightening was needed in Victoria – it is now. Our debt is screaming towards $166 billion.
“The Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne, keeps telling Victorians that ‘road safety is a shared responsibility’.
“I couldn’t agree more.
“It’s why the Minister and the Andrews Government should pull their weight in that equation and fix some of country Victoria’s crumbling, crater-ridden roads.
“In places such as the Princes Highway west of Colac, temporary 40km/hr signs have almost become a permanent fixture due to the unsafe condition of the road.
“40km/hr signs are everywhere across regional and rural Victoria – and every time motorists see them – what they’re observing is not road safety, but State Government neglect.
“They symbolise a failure of Premier, Daniel Andrews, to give a damn about country lives.”
The Government’s own media release about the yellow lights says: Tragically, 116 people have already lost their lives on the state’s roads this year – 30 more than the same time last year. Of the fatalities, 70 have occurred on regional roads and 46 in metro areas.
“What a damning statistic,” Mrs McArthur said.
“The Government keeps investing in the Wire Rope Barrier scheme – a project that effectively ran overbudget and overtime from Day 1.
“The Victorian Auditor General’s report tabled in June 2020, condemned it on multiple fronts, including that fact that the outcomes were not great enough to warrant the costs and that, in some cases, “critical data” was missing.
“And this is just one aspect of road safety in which money is mis-spent and the real road safety problems go ignored,” said Mrs McArthur.
“Can I suggest to the Minister, that perhaps instead of lighting up buildings in yellow, her Government use National Road Safety Week to advise why projects which save lives on Victorian roads are over budget and failing?
“Perhaps she could also explain why my toaster has a more robust guarantee than road construction and repairs in Victoria? The quality of road infrastructure in Victoria is so bad taxpayers are clearly being ripped off.
“No one wants to see lives lost on our roads.
“And, so, my final suggestion is that perhaps the money saved by turning the lights off, is instead spent on fixing deadly intersections and pot holes that are no doubt among the causes of car accidents, damage to cars, and costly additions to the transportation of product across Victoria.”