Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP today welcomed the Government's decision to back a plan that will secure more than $1.1 billion in additional funding for regional roads as part of a compromise to pass the Government’s re-introduction of indexation for fuel excise.
“Over the next two years the Bendigo electorate will receive about $4.8 million in Roads to Recovery funding but this figure will increase significantly under Labor’s plan.
“Funding to fix up local roads will be more than double over the next two years,” said Ms Chesters.
Ms Chesters said Labor had devised the plan in response to the threat that if the Abbott Government’s petrol tax rise was not validated by Parliament within 12 months, the extra revenue would be returned to fuel companies - not motorists.
“Late last year, Tony Abbott and the Liberal Government bypassed the Parliament to impose an increase in the petrol tax. As a result of their underhand tactics we faced the very real prospect of the government handing big cheques back to the oil companies rather than investing in our local economies.
“Given the petrol tax has already been collected, this plan will ensure it goes back to the motorists who've paid it by improving their roads. This plan just makes sense.
“We believe Australian motorists have the right to see their taxes being used to improve the condition and safety of our roads. Labor's plan will ensure Central Victorian drivers paying more in petrol tax will actually benefit through improved road safety and conditions.
“We know that currently 11 per cent of roads managed by councils are in a poor or very poor condition. I know from meeting with local government and local residents groups how welcome this funding will be.”
Ms Chesters said greater investment in the roads would lead to improved safety, economic and social outcomes for the region:
“Labor's plan has given this government an opportunity to support an initiative that will stimulate the Central Victorian economy, generate much needed jobs and provide a boost for our local infrastructure.”