Debate rages over wire rope

By Country News

A Broadford CFA member has voiced concerns regarding wire rope barriers on regional highways, citing a car fire on Hume Fwy in November as a source of concern.

Captain Jamie Atkins said the November 15 fire on Hume Fwy in Broadford near Davis Rd should have spread to no more than 0.1ha but quickly grew to 4ha after the brigade struggled to gain access.

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan called on Roads Minister Luke Donnellan to listen to the concerns.

‘‘When we raised these concerns with the minister in Question Time, he again refused to acknowledge them,’’ she said.

‘‘If Luke Donnellan really wants to save country lives he will start treating country people with respect by listening to the concerns and lived experiences of the people using these roads.’’

Mr Donnellan told parliament last week that the wire rope barriers had been identified by the Transport Accident Commission as an effective way to reduce the road toll.

‘‘You are four times more likely to die on country roads ... 109 out of 155 accidents last year related to people exiting the road on the left or crossing from one side of the road to the other ... these wire rope barriers stop the death and mayhem that occurs on our roads,’’ he said.

Mr Donnellan also accused the Coalition of ‘‘ignoring the science’’ of the barriers and said the current government was rolling out the barriers under a set of protocols that the Liberal-National Coalition signed on to.

He also apologised for comments he made to Corangamite Shire Mayor Jo Beard regarding local roads funding levels, saying they were ‘‘better than a kick in the dick’’.

‘‘I actually spoke to the mayor yesterday and indicated that was an inappropriate use of language and ... what I should have said (was) ‘it was better than a kick in the head’,’’ Mr Donnellan told parliament last Tuesday.

The minister said he apologised to Ms Beard as soon as he heard ‘‘through the grapevine’’ he had caused offence.

Ms Beard said the comment made during a February 6 meeting with Mr Donnellan, VicRoads and the shire’s chief executive was disappointing.

‘‘I personally didn’t take offence to it, I’ve got a pretty thick skin,’’ she said.

‘‘It was more around the disappointment that he had made that comment toward the council.’’

Ms Ryan and Opposition leader Matthew Guy have previously pledged to halt the rollout of wire rope barrier if elected in November.