23 November 2023

The Hon Kristy McBain
Member for Eden-Monaro 

The Albanese Labor Government remains committed to its $150 million investment in the Barton Highway upgrade – funding that was never in doubt, as reconfirmed following the Independent Strategic Review of the Infrastructure Investment Program.

Locals across the Yass Valley have called for improvements to the Barton Highway for decades, which is why there has been no impact to the $50 million investment in Stage One works, and no change to the additional $100 million committed by Labor for Stage Two works.

With newly constructed southbound lanes recently opening to traffic – as part of Stage One Works, planning for Stage Two works is now well underway.

The independent strategic review has reaffirmed that the Liberals and Nationals did not have the appropriate planning and informed costings in place to deliver the projects they promised in media releases.

A blow out of 150 to 800 projects, with an estimated $33 billion in known cost pressures – projects that were simply not ready for Commonwealth investment.

That is why the Albanese Government is committed to delivering the infrastructure Australia needs, creating jobs and growing the economy, while not increasing pressure on inflation.

As part of the Government’s commitment to improving the safety of roads across Eden-Monaro, local councils will also have access to significantly increased road funding.

Roads to Recovery funding will gradually increase from $500 million to $1 billion per year, and Black Spot funding will also progressively increase from $110 million to $150 million per year.

The Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program will be merged into a new, Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program – with available funding increasing to $200 million per year, $50 million more than is currently available under the two existing programs.

This will strengthen the capacity of local councils across Eden-Monaro to maintain and improve local roads, which have been impacted by extreme weather and increased demand.

Roads to Recovery funding is calculated by population and road length – with a consultation process to be undertaken in early 2024 to ensure that any changes to this formula works for local governments.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain:

“You can’t build a highway with a press release, which was the only approach from the Liberals and Nationals when it came to infrastructure in Eden-Monaro.

“The simple fact is, the Albanese Labor Government is doing exactly what we said we would do – delivering $150 million to improve the Barton Highway – funding that was never in doubt.

“People across the Yass Valley, including the 13,000 people that travel on the Barton Highway every day, have campaigned for decades to get this work off the ground – which is why we remain committed to delivering these improvements.

“Councils across Eden-Monaro have called for more support to strengthen their capacity to maintain our local road networks – we have listened and are doing just that.

“We know that our local roads have been washed away and face more demand as people move to the regions – which is why significantly increasing the road funding available to councils will make a huge difference.”