Local roads spend a win for farmers

Thursday 20 April 2017

FARMERS in South Gippsland will receive nearly $800,000 in funding to improve local agricultural roads under a State Government scheme that was won by the Victorian Farmers Federation.

The Local Roads to Market Program was created out of the Government’s Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF), which the VFF pushed as a condition of the farmer group’s support for the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease last year.

The new grant will help fund the sealing and widening of 7km of Labertouche North Road, which is used by dairy and beef producers, emergency services vehicles and agriculture suppliers, and the replacement of the timber Powneys Road Bridge with a 14m-long concrete bridge.

“These upgrades will improve productivity across the agriculture supply chain and improve the country road network for all users,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

“Labertouche North Road in particular is an unsealed gravel road that is a real safety risk for farmers and residents and needs to be upgraded.”

The first round of the program will contribute $11.5 million to 30 projects worth $22 million across 27 local government areas in regional and rural Victoria, including sealing dirt roads, widening intersections and upgrading arterial roads.

Mr Jochinke said the number of projects being funded under the Program showed there was a need for continued investment in rural road upgrades and encouraged the Government to keep investing in the State’s regions.

“Farmers always tell me they face freight access problems and the Local Roads to Market Program goes a long way to addressing those issues,” he said.

“The Local Roads to Market Program is well worth the money to upgrade essential transport routes in rural areas and the Government would do well to expand the initiative so that regional communities and businesses can benefit from improved roads.”

Media Contacts:

David Jochinke, VFF President: 0427 834 524

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784