March 21, 2013

Road Minister Needs to be Honest on Whitehorse Road Roundabout

Geoff Howard MP, State Member for Ballarat East, last night called for Roads Minister  Terry Mulder to come clean to the Mt Clear/Mt Helen community on the Whitehorse Road roundabout works. 

Residents and landowners in the area of the roundabout currently have no idea on what is
happening with the compulsory acquisition of several properties to allow the planned works to proceed and motorists have no clear indication when works might either be resumed or completed.

“This is a matter that has dragged on for too long and, despite the funding having been made available in the outgoing Brumby government budget for this work, people who live in the Mount Helen-Mount Clear area are very concerned about the increased traffic congestion and they are still seeing no real progress.

Mr Howard said that he had raised the issue in Parliament on numerous occasions since the Coalition government was elected and despite several announcements that the work was about to begin this simply is not the case.

In recent months Mr Howard has been contacted by property owners who are saying, ‘We were contacted back in 2011 to say that our properties were going to be acquired.’  One of them has lost their tenant as a result of this advice. The tenant moved out, and the owner has had no tenant for five months, they now want to sell the property but this is not possible until the acquisition is resolved.

“Because these property owners still hadn’t heard back from VicRoads or the Minister before this week I felt it was necessary to ask the Minister to respond in Parliament” Mr Howard said.

Mr Mulder, the Roads Minister in responding could not clarify what was happening.

“The land acquisitions are taking place and communication is happening with those affected, “he said.

He further added that VicRoads will be dealing with the matter in an appropriate manner.”

“This conflicts with the advice I am receiving from the property owners,” Mr Howard said.

“It is important that this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, both for the benefit of these property owners and for the benefit of all users of Main Road.”

“Until the Minister signs off on these property acquisitions no progress can be made on getting this important roundabout upgrade done.”

“It would appear that this project is just not being taken seriously by this government,” Mr Howard added.