Councils welcome $300m in federal roads funding
Cardinia Shire and Yarra Ranges Councils have welcomed the federal government’s recent budget announcement of $300 million to seal roads in the Dandenong Ranges and surrounds.
The federal funding will enable 500km of dirt roads in Cardinia Shire and Yarra Ranges to be sealed over a 10-year period, directly benefiting up to 20,000 families and many other road users.
Cardinia Shire Deputy Mayor Councillor Collin Ross said the announcement came at a time when the community was recovering from bushfires in the Bunyip State Park, and highlighted the need for better roads to support emergency response.
“Our residents have been calling for road improvements to provide safer, all-weather access to their properties and community facilities. This funding will help us to deliver more, well-formed roads that will reduce the risks to drivers when visibility is poor and improve access during emergency events,” Cr Ross said.
The funding announcement was the result of an advocacy partnership between the two councils who had been seeking funding to implement a transformational improvement of unmade roads throughout the Dandenong Ranges, surrounding townships and rural areas of both municipalities.
“This road funding announcement is a huge win for the people of Yarra Ranges and Cardinia Shire,” said Yarra Ranges Mayor Councillor Tony Stevenson.
“Both Yarra Ranges and Cardinia Shire have a massive unsealed road network, which in many areas has existed for more than 100 years and is still yet to brought up to 21st Century standards,” he said.
“Residential development occurred at a time when our regions were considered country Victoria, however with the expansion of Melbourne, these areas are now very much part of Melbourne’s metropolitan area.”
Cr Ross said Cardinia Shire is also experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, which is increasing demand and use of its unsealed road network.
“The rapid and ongoing population growth experienced in Melbourne’s south east growth corridor has resulted in around seven families moving into Cardinia Shire every day. This means we’ve got more people than ever before travelling on our roads and expectations that our ageing road network is struggling to meet,” Cr Ross said.
The funding announcement will enable the roll out of a 10-year road construction program, which might otherwise have taken 60 or more years to complete. This federal government funding will significantly accelerate road sealing, delivering safer roads sooner to thousands of families.
Once the funding is available, Cardinia Shire Council will prioritise the roads that will be treated through the funding program. Council will focus on roads that have schools, pre-schools and community facilities as a starting point, followed by urban unsealed roads in towns across the shire.