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Push for next stage Calder works

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, has called on the Liberal-National State Government to commit funds to prepare for the next stage of works on the Calder Freeway at Ravenswood.

Ms Allan made the funding call in the Victorian Parliament and asked the Minister to match Labor's commitment to fund the next stage of Calder works (Hansard attached).

"In Government, Labor had a proud history of providing funding for each stage of the Calder works and we worked with the Federal Labor Member, Steve Gibbons, to push the then Federal Liberal-National Government to match the Calder funds."

"Central Victorians remember well that the Federal Liberal-National Government had to be dragged to the table to fund the Calder, and caused unnecessary delays."

"As a result of Labor funding and Labor campaigning, the Calder is now a duplicated road between Bendigo and Melbourne. It is a much safer and quicker drive which is good for residents, businesses and tourism."

"Last November Labor pledged $7m to progress the necessary planning work for the Ravenswood interchange. This $7 million of funding would have seen the planning done and the project ready to go and ready to receive future federal and state funding support."

Ms Allan told Parliament that the Ravenswood interchange was important because it is a vital link for freight, business, commuters and tourists between Melbourne, Bendigo and Mildura, as, the interchange point on the Calder Freeway on the outskirts of Bendigo. Improvements to the interchange would have significant benefits for communities and industries.

"Disappointingly, when Labor made this commitment it was opposed by the Liberal National coalition."

"The now Minister for Roads said that Vic Roads had the capacity to do the planning, irrespective of who was in government."

"If this is the case then there is no reason why the Government can not move to immediately match Labor's commitment and direct Vic Roads to undertake this necessary planning work," Ms Allan said.

Photos

Roads: Calder Highway, Ravenswood

Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East) - The issue I raise is for the attention of the Minister for Roads, and the action I seek is that he match the commitment Labor made to progress works on the Calder Highway at the Ravenswood interchange.

Labor has always had a good and proud history and a commitment to the duplication of the Calder Highway between Melbourne and Bendigo.

In office we progressed every single stage of the Calder Highway in the face of opposition from the then Liberal Nationals government at the federal level, which had to be dragged kicking and screaming to honour its part of the bargain, which was to match the funding that Labor was putting forward here in Victoria for each stage of works under the federal state road agreement.

It is no wonder the then federal government was reluctant when its state Liberal Nationals colleagues did not stand up to their Canberra mates and demand they match Labor's Calder commitment for funding. The result was that the Calder was completed years later than it should have been, but thankfully it was completed.

This is a vital transport link, not just for Bendigo but throughout central and northern Victoria. As a result of Labor's agenda to complete the Calder Freeway it is now a quicker, safer and more efficient transport link for businesses and residents.

It was a great occasion on 19 April 2009 when I joined then Premier John Brumby for the opening of the final stage of the Calder duplication. It was a great celebration and a great tribute to John Brumby and Labor's push to complete the Calder duplication for the region.

Now the next stage needs to be progressed. Labor committed to do this. We pledged $7 million to progress the necessary planning work for the Ravenswood interchange. This $7 million of funding would have seen the planning done and the project ready to go and ready to receive future federal and state funding support.

Why is the Ravenswood interchange important? It is important because it is a vital link for freight, business, commuters and tourists between Melbourne, Bendigo and Mildura, being, as the name suggests, the interchange point on the Calder Freeway on the outskirts of Bendigo. Improvements to the interchange would have significant benefits for communities and industries.

Disappointingly, when Labor made this commitment it was opposed by the Liberal National coalition. The now Minister for Roads told ABC Radio at the time of the announcement that Vic Roads had the capacity to do the planning, irrespective of who is in government.

Therefore the action I seek from the minister, now that he is in government, is for him to match Labor's commitment and direct Vic Roads to immediately start this necessary planning work.

As we have seen from his comments, he believes the capacity already exists within Vic Roads for this $7 million of planning work to be undertaken, so there should be no reason and no excuse for this project to be delayed one moment longer.

It is such an important link for businesses and residents, it would improve safety on the freeway and it would continue the strong and proud legacy that Labor has of improving this road.

ABC Mildura Swan Hill (Mildura)
10:30 News - 03/11/2010 - 10:31 AM
Newsreader
News Editor Ms Jacinta Allan-Gange 03 5022 4511

The Victorian Opposition believes a Labor Promise to plan upgrade to two Calder Highway intersections south of Bendigo is unnecessary.

The State Government announced yesterday it would spend $7m planning works on the Calder Alternate and Fogartys Gap Road intersections.

Labor says it would then try to secure Federal Government funding to help pay for the upgrades. Terry Mulder, Victorian Shadow Minister for Public Transport & Roads, says the Government is trying to con the electorate.

He says Vic Roads have the capacity to do the planning irrespective of who is in government. Mal Kersting, Spokesperson, Vic Roads, says some preliminary work has already been done on the intersections but developing a full plan could take up to 18 months.

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