March 20, 2013  |  Adjournment

Geelong Road, Mount Helen: traffic management

I have a matter to raise for the attention of the Minister for Roads. I will get straight to the point initially. I am asking the minister to take action to sign off on the necessary land purchases to allow for the redevelopment of the Geelong Road-Whitehorse Road roundabout. I also ask the minister to respond to requests made from land-holders to advise them and the whole community of that area as to what is happening and to be honest with them.

This is a matter that has dragged on for some time. People who live in the Mount Helen-Mount Clear area are very concerned about the increased traffic congestion that is happening out there at peak periods, particularly in the morning. In some ways this has been a long-term problem, and as soon as I was elected in 1999 I was pleased to be able to attract some significant funding for the Whitehorse Road roundabout to see an upgrade take place at that time.

Since then the Brumby and Bracks Labor governments have supported Ballarat University
with the development of the technology park out there, which has seen somewhere around 2000 jobs created in that area. That has put extra pressure on that road. In more recent times the construction of the new Emmaus Catholic Primary School and the edevelopment of Damascus College over the road, which has seen years 7 to 10 all moving out there over recent years, have further exacerbated that problem.

Soon after the election of the new government in December 2010 I wrote to the Minister for Roads and advised him that in its last budget the Labor government had committed $2 million towards upgrading this road, but some time later we are still not getting progress on that roundabout. In recent months I have again had contact with the owners of properties at nos 8, 11, 89 and — I think it must be — 87 Geelong Road, 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, who was advised wrongly that the property was about to be purchased. The tenant moved out, and the owner had no tenant for five months. Now they want to sell that property because they have bought a new one, but they cannot sell the property because of this uncertainty over it.

I have written to the minister and emailed him several times this year — on 5 and 25 February — forwarding the details of one of those landowners asking what is happening. They understand from VicRoads that the matter has been on the minister’s desk since last November, and they want it progressed. I want to see it progressed not just for those but for — —

The SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.