Roads need more

By Country News

The VFF has acknowledged the $941million announced in the Victorian budget ends the road funding drought, but said it failed to deliver the transformational funding needed for safe and fit-for-purpose roads for all Victorians.

The funding will be the biggest road maintenance blitz Victoria has seen and will include the establishment of new country roads body Regional Roads Victoria.

As part of the funding, $19.9million will go towards upgrading the Shepparton heavy vehicle alternative freight route.

VFF grains president Ross Johns said the funding was welcome because the roads were not in a great condition.

‘‘After decades of neglect our roads are in extremely poor condition,’’ Mr Johns said.

‘‘Agriculture not only needs roads to get goods to market but to receive the inputs required to grow our safe, sustainable and reliable agriculture products.

‘‘Roads are essential to the Victorian economy, with a quarter of our exports coming from agriculture.

‘‘Without fit-for-purpose roads, we can not grow the $13billion of export earnings agriculture currently produces.

‘‘While we welcome this attention to roads, we challenge all parties to ensure that their 2018 election promises rise to the challenge and commit significant dollars to a long-term road funding program.’’