Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
None! Zip! Zilch! Zero!
That’s pretty much the answer Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull has received from a question he asked late last year of the Roads Minister in Parliament about the public consultation that took place in East Gippsland before the project to install roadside and centre of the road wire rope barriers on the Princes Highway between Sale and Bairnsdale was announced in May 2016.
Apart from a little known online survey in October 2016, there was no opportunity for road users in East Gippsland to have input to the project until August 2017 when the decisions had already been made. He said the same also applied to the Paynesville Road and Sale - Maffra Road projects.
“The Andrews Government’s communications and stakeholder relations officers have been busily talking up the roadside and centre of the road barriers projects, but when they belatedly gave the community a chance to have a real say they have just brushed off their concerns, because its going ahead no matter what road users and emergency services are saying,” Mr Bull said.
“As recently as this week, senior CFA staff were expressing major concerns about their ability to get to fires and assist at road accidents because of the traffic congestion caused by the barriers.
“VicRoads has been heavily promoting the road safety benefits in its messaging and communications strategy for this project and I do not argue that it won’t reduce road trauma, but there are other considerations in this as well that have simply not been considered through lack of consultation.
“Road users and emergency services have not been listened to and their concerns acted upon.
“While the Minister has refused my suggestion to halt the ongoing works while these discussions are held, he has advised me that VicRoads held a workshop with the East Gippsland Shire in October 2017 and plans to hold a similar workshop with Wellington Shire next month.
“He also advises that VicRoads is currently seeking advice in relation to the requirements for landing a helicopter air ambulance. I will continue to liaise with his office in the hope that these concerns can be resolved.
“This project is a mess. It is still being figured out on the run. There was no opportunity for local input into its initial design and there is a continuing unwillingness to pause the project for long enough for its shortcomings to be fixed” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says the Roads Minister is stubbornly pushing ahead with the safety barriers projects despite mounting public alarm.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018