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  • Rikki Lambert

$10 billion for 10 years' road repair gets independent tick of approval

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy (right) has campaigned for rural road repair

The National Party's signature policy pledge of $1 billion a year for 10 years spent on improving regional roads has been picked up as the right pricetag from a Mildura independent candidate.

Seven-time Mildura mayor and councillor running against incumbent Ali Cupper, Glenn Milne, told Flow on Tuesday:

"I don't know if the Premier really knows where Mildura is. We seem to miss out all the time. If you look at the funding that geos into Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong et cetera - once you get past that, you don't see much for roads.
"The government, what? they've spent - $200 million on every rail crossing they've done I reckon 100 of those, then they offer us $168 million to fix our country roads when it should be $10 billion."

A Victorian Farmers Federation scorecard released on Tuesday regarding the major parties rated the Andrews Labor government's long-term targeted funding for rural arterial and road maintenance as inferior to the Liberal-Nationals' $10 billion pledge. The VFF say the government would deliver $780 million over eight months in a 'road maintenance blitz'.

Forward estimates in the budget process mean a funding pledge is only good for the life of the elected government, usually four years, and the further 6 years of the Nationals' pledge would need to be delivered by successive governments. This hasn't stopped state and federal governments pledging spending programs of longer than 4 years, including the Albanese Labor government's recent federal budget. Governments and oppositions aim to provide funding reassurance for stakeholders beyond the volatility of election cycles with longer-range pledges.

National Party deputy leader Emma Kealy said recent Parliamentary Budget Office analysis proved regional Victoria wasn't getting a fair share of infrastructure spending:

"This past year, we got 13 per cent of the infrastructure budget in country Victoria and the year before it was just 11 per cent. That's just not fair. We've got 25 per cent of the state's population, we deserve at least 25 per cent of the infrastructure and that's exactly what the Nationals have promised."

Mr Milne told Flow listeners if Saturday's election results in a hung parliament and he was elected as a new independent for Mildura, as a 'conservative independent' he would support a change of government.

Hear the full interview with independent candidate Glenn Milne in the Flow podcast player below:


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