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Funding to strengthen and upgrade Indi bridges

Two bridges in the electorate of Indi will be upgraded and strengthened thanks to the allocation of funding through a Coalition-led program aimed at safety and efficiency.

While welcoming the allocation of funds, Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson questioned the decision by the Albanese Government to axe the $772m Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programs which have significantly improved road safety and strengthened productivity and efficiency of agricultural freight.

Under the latest allocation, the government will contribute $483,314 for the upgrade of the Boorhaman East Road Bridge, part of the Indigo shire and $520,000 to improve Redcamps Bridge, Myrrhee, part of Wangaratta Rural City Council.

The Boorhaman project involves strengthening the U-slab bridge through the installation of mid-span relieving piles, a concrete deck overlay, and renewing a flood relief culvert. Road safety barriers will also be improved, increasing the sealed road width on the bridge and approaches to accommodate two-way traffic.

The Redcamps Bridge upgrade will include a strengthening of the substructure, a full deck replacement and widening and installing guard railings and increasing the number of lanes to two.

Senator Henderson said the improvements would ensure safety for road users in these two areas, making it easier for heavy vehicles to move agricultural produce from farm to market.

“This program has seen hundreds of projects across the country funded since 2013, allowing state, territory and local governments to upgrade bridges to accommodate high productivity heavy vehicles, improve road safety and efficiency of the national freight network,” Senator Henderson said.

She said it was concerning Labor has actually underspent in the Bridges Renewal Program to the tune of $28 million and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program by $51 million in the 2023-24 financial year.

“There are additional road and bridges across Indi which could have benefited from this program had Labor spent the full budget allocation,” Senator Henderson said.

“In November last year, the Albanese Government announced it would abolish both programs altogether, replacing them with a new scheme which does not have the same specific commitment to fixing local bridges and heavy vehicle routes.

“Roads and bridges across Indi are an integral part of the local freight network, transporting large volumes of some very significant commodities,” Senator Henderson said.

“Keeping freight running efficiently and safely is vital to keeping our economy strong and supporting jobs. Providing a well-maintained and connected road network in Indi is a fundamental part of this.

“Not only have Labor withheld allocated funding under these programs but by abolishing them altogether I fear that other much needed projects like the Boorhaman and Redcamps Bridge will struggle to attract federal government funding under Labor.”

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