Wednesday, 22 February 2023


Princes Highway, Colac

Princes Highway, Colac

Bev McARTHUR (Western Victoria) (17:54): (58) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who is going to be kept very busy here. It seems I am not the only person in western Victoria utterly frustrated with the state of our roads.

A member interjected.

Bev McARTHUR: It is in Northern Metro, as my colleague reminds me. In particular it is the Princes Highway west of Colac, no less. As a member of this Parliament I have unfortunately become used to hearing obfuscation from those opposite, watching finger-pointing in other directions or observing the Premier’s preferred ‘nothing to see here’ modus operandi on matters of importance to the state. It is why I was incredibly disappointed to recently read words from the Warrnambool Standard newspaper indicating that its simple requests for straightforward information are also being ignored by the Andrews government – they do not even want to deal with the media these days. On Sunday its editor Greg Best outlined to subscribers the frustration felt by locals at the ongoing failure of governments to address the seriously inadequate condition of the Princes Highway west of Colac. Mr Best quoted a Victorian government email to the paper in 2021 which described the Princes Highway as:

… one of Victoria’s busiest freight and transport routes, and together with the Commonwealth Government, we’re examining how best we can improve it for the thousands of drivers who use it each day.

But after asking the government last week about those upgrades mentioned in 2021, the government denied ever committing to them. It now says any upgrades:

… would be done with federal funding and the state would complete the works.

I find it utterly unsurprising that Mr Best finds himself reporting that the federal Labor government is effectively just as pathetic as the Andrews state government when it comes to committing to essential roadworks in regional Victoria. The Albanese government has told the Warrnambool Standard that it ‘has no plans’ to upgrade that section of highway. Mr Best described the Princes Highway west of Colac as:

… a crumbling mess, there are limited overtaking opportunities and then there’s sections … that have had temporary 80km/h speed limits for more than two years …

and that the road merely gets worse the further west you drive. His description is most apt. The action I seek of the minister is to uphold the commitment this government made at the state election to govern for all Victorians, and in doing so the upgrade of this section of the highway should happen as a matter of urgency, given its own recognition of it as ‘one of Victoria’s busiest freight and transport routes’.