27 April 2017

Urgent need for safety upgrade to notorious intersection

I am increasingly concerned about the dangers posed by the Princes Highway and Timboon Colac Road intersection near Colac.

This notorious intersection forms part of the preferred route to the Twelve Apostles.  It is used by many tourist buses on a daily basis as well as by milk tankers, log trucks and farmers.

On 29 June 2016, I joined the Member for Wannon Dan Tehan at this intersection to announce our government would commit $20m to upgrade sections of the Princes Highway west of Colac.  After a six month battle advocating for matching funding, the state Labor government announced matching funding of $20m last year.

Our government proudly announced $345m for Victorian rural and regional roads which has now received matching funding from the state.  Other roads to be upgraded under this program are the Great Ocean Road ($50m for this tranche, $100m in total) as well as $10m for the Apollo Bay Forrest Road.

In my view, this intersection upgrade should be the highest priority.

With the scope of works for all road projects being finalised by VicRoads, I call on Premier Andrews to ensure this intersection is included in these works.

As the scope of works must be agreed to by the federal government, I will also be lobbying Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester to make sure it is included.

With tourist traffic on the road increasing, we simply cannot afford to sit back and wait for a tragedy to occur.

Urgent action is required now.

Safety must be the number one priority including for international drivers.  Last week I again raised my concerns that the state government is not doing enough to address unsafe driving by international drivers such as installing better signage and imposing tougher obligations on hire car companies.

Roads Minister Luke Donnellan responded to my calls for safer measures for international tourists by saying, “Is she wanting to shut down the region’s tourism industry?”

Minister Donnellan’s response to widespread community concerns about international drivers is pathetic and ill informed.  He committed to me he would investigate further measures that could be adopted with respect to international drivers, and has done nothing.

27 April 2017