After accessing FOI documents, the Australian Conservatives are demanding answers as to why Labor has created a “backlog of billions” in regards to delayed regional road repairs.
The Naracoorte Herald reports, “South Australian roads have been neglected under the current SA Labor Government and I have confirmation from the Minister for Road Safety that the cost to fix the problem is estimated in the billions and it would take decades for safety infrastructure upgrades to be completed,” said Upper House candidate for the Australian Conservatives, MLC Robert Brokenshire.
“This shows that Labor has abandoned road maintenance, the backlog of which was estimated around $160m back in 2004. Not only is the estimation to fix our roads now in the billions of dollars, FOI documents show that time frames for fixing roads has blown out with problems not being addressed for up to 20 years."
“Ignoring road maintenance causes problems to accumulate and puts all road users lives at risk.”
Richard Bateman, who is standing for the Australian Conservatives in the seat of MacKillop, is concerned about how our roads are affecting our economic productivity.
“All the business people have said that road maintenance wasn’t getting any better, and that's making it difficult to work.”
Mr Bateman would like to see a list of roads that need work from local councils, so that he and his party can lobby Government for some timelines of when these roads could be fixed.
“Even the Department of Environment, with roadside vegetation being cleared on the side of the road of 1.5 metres. It needs to go back to 3-4 metres, our roads are getting overgrown."
“No lines or shoulders on the road edges, overgrowing roadside vegetation not being cleared, huge potholes - are all part of the backlog. Our electorate has been neglected even for basic maintenance issues.”
Mr Bateman also expressed a negative opinion of the 100 kilometres per hour speed limits that have come into effect on some of regional Australia’s roads.
“A 100 kilometre and hour speed limit is only a temporary step – what’s next, 80, 90?”
In order to maintain and improve country roads, the Australian Conservatives want to implement a Royalties for Regions program, with a projected figure of 35% being returned to Regional SA over and above any current funding.
The Australian Conservatives have been fighting for years to implement the policy, and say now that other parties are agreeing with their policy.
Picture: Australian Conservatives candidate Richard Bateman with a MacKillop road showing unacceptable wear and tear.