TRANSPORT LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (BETTER ROADS VICTORIA AND OTHER AMENDMENTS) BILL 2018
Mr J BULL (Sunbury) (16:29:59): I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Transport Legislation Amendment (Better Roads Victoria and Other Amendments) Bill 2018. This government, the Andrews Labor government, stands for high-quality, safe and well-maintained roads across the state, no matter where you live. .
We know of course that roads are critically important to the way Victorian communities live, work and travel, and we have certainly heard from both the member for Yan Yean and the member for Yuroke about the importance of local roads in their communities. Certainly within the Sunbury electorate—a growing electorate and an electorate that is experiencing more and more people moving into its fabulous community every day—we know the importance of investing in, maintaining, supporting and designing good local roads that enable our community to go about its daily business. This government also understands of course that roads form part of a broader network of transport infrastructure that Victorian communities rely on each and every day. The Andrews Labor government understands that as those communities that I just mentioned before, communities like mine, grow and experience more and more people each and every day we need to be continually investing in new roads, new freeways and major infrastructure that allow people within our community to have the very best opportunities to get to work safely and to travel safely to see family and friends right across the state.
As other speakers have mentioned this afternoon, much of the work that is being talked about today—many of those major infrastructure projects—were set very early on in the first term of the Andrews Labor government. In fact work began even before we on this side of the house came to government from opposition. Certainly, Acting Speaker McGuire, you were part of some of that work in designing and creating Project 10 000, a very important piece of work that sets the agenda—that sets the course—for infrastructure for the future. There is no secret—and other honourable members have mentioned it this afternoon—that we are experiencing considerable growth right across outer metropolitan Melbourne in communities like mine of Sunbury, like Craigieburn, like Broadmeadows, like Yan Yean and like those out in the west, where there is significant growth.
What we need to be doing, and what this government is doing, is investing in those key arterial outer suburban roads to ensure that growth is maintained. On top of that—and I will go to this point later on—investment in rural and regional roads is fundamentally important. We know of course that our rural and regional communities do some fantastic work and are made up of many wonderful individuals and families that this government values incredibly highly. We need to be investing in rural and regional communities, supporting those people to get to and from work and supporting those people who work in the agricultural sector right across the state. As we know, Project 10 000 was a Labor election commitment to transform public transport, to remove the worst bottlenecks, to boost economic growth and to create 10 000 jobs.
Part of this work was a minimum spend of $1 billion over eight years that was to be allocated to repair and upgrade roads in Melbourne’s outer suburban and interface communities—those communities that I have mentioned. On top of that, $1 billion over eight years was to be allocated to repair and upgrade roads and level crossings in rural and regional communities—those that I have just mentioned. Of course the Victorian government did confirm in the legislation the compulsory payment of traffic camera and speeding fines into the Better Roads Victoria Trust Account, and here we are this afternoon. What must be noted and what is in many ways extraordinary to think is that those opposite, who cut $100 million and sacked 450 VicRoads staff, would be coming into this place to move amendments to this bill. Victorian communities know—Victorian communities understand—that this government builds, builds and builds more. They understand that in those long, lonely, dark years from 2010 to 2014 major projects, outer suburban roads and regional and rural roads were put out to pasture. They were disregarded. I compare that to the significantly positive and optimistic record of the previous term of the Andrews Labor government. Nearly $9.5 billion was allocated across the term: $6.1 million for those major road improvements that I have mentioned; $1.2 million for metropolitan and regional road maintenance; and a significant investment in those suburban roads.
I heard the member for Yuroke talk about the importance of Craigieburn Road, which is a road I think many people in my community would know. Fundamentally important to my community is Sunbury Road, a key road that links my community. It runs north–south down into Bulla and is a significant arterial road that is used more and more each and every day by local residents. It is incredibly important to my community. We look at major road infrastructure, and the list is extensive: the West Gate Tunnel, north-east link, the CityLink Tulla widening project and the Monash Freeway upgrade, stage 1 and stage 2. There is also the western suburbs roads package, which I have mentioned. It includes Dunnings Road, Palmers Road, Derrimut Road, Leakes Road, Dohertys Road, the Princes Freeway, the Forsyth Road interchange in Hoppers Crossing and Duncans Road. There is also the M80 ring-road. These are significant projects that are working not just to alleviate congestion and improve safety but also to create those thousands of jobs that I mentioned earlier. These are significant and important upgrades that are being delivered by this government.
The piece of legislation before the house this afternoon will see outer suburban and country Victorian roads each receiving a minimum of 33 per cent of the Better Roads Victoria funds, ensuring that those who drive the most will get better and safer roads. That is what this is all about. The remaining 34 per cent of the fund will be used for the repair and upgrade of roads and level crossings anywhere in the state. That allows for some flexibility in the model. On the one hand you have got certainty and surety, and then you have got flexibility, which is also very important as various things change right across the state. There are a number of other changes and mechanisms within this bill. One relates specifically to the changes around alcohol interlocks by reducing the burden on courts and by transferring responsibility for managing those interlocks from the courts to VicRoads. A significant and important change, this will free up court resources to respond to other matters—something that I am sure all members of the house should agree on.
As I have mentioned, having a funding model of certainty, having a model of surety and making sure there is a constant pipeline of projects and a constant pipeline of jobs importantly sets the state up not just for today and not just for tomorrow but for decades to come. Although they are not roads, projects such as Melbourne Metro, removing level crossings, the Suburban Rail Loop and the Melbourne Airport link are all significant projects that set this state up for today, for tomorrow and, most importantly, for generations to come. When those opposite had the chance, they cut roads funding. When this government had the chance, we invested.
Having a defined, tangible, clear, definitive, locked-in funding model for rural, regional and suburban roads ensures that those roads receive the attention, the care and the quality of service that they deserve. I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the work done by the former minister and the current minister and her office.
This is an important bill, a bill that I think goes to ensuring that we have better roads right across the state.
I commend the bill to the house.