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Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Page: 1410

Road Infrastructure

Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (14:49): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. I remind the minister that, as part of the government's focus on building the roads of the 21st century, it committed to the upgrade of the Great Ocean Road and to duplicating the Princes Highway from Geelong to Colac. What impact will these upgrades have on local jobs and the local economy in Corangamite?

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:49): I thank the member for Corangamite, and it is great to have as a new member a champion of the Princes Highway and the Great Ocean Road—and the other parts of the highway network in Victoria. This is a championship which is absolutely essential if there is going to be an achievement of the government's objectives of building the roads of the 21st century, and building them right across the country. She will be very pleased to know that work on planning for the last section of the Princes Highway towards Colac is underway and construction is expected to begin next year. So she will see continuing progress on the upgrading of the Princes Highway.

There is a similar story in relation to the Great Ocean Road, where the coalition has committed $50 million, in partnership with the Victorian government, to upgrade this iconic road. This of course is one of the great driving experiences of the world, and it is appropriate that this highway continue to be upgraded so that it is safe for motorists and so that the international visitors who come from all over the world just to drive this highway can do so in safety. The member for Wannon will also be interested in this road upgrade, because one of the projects that is going to be constructed is the road close to the Warrnambool cheese factory, which is probably the most famous cheese factory in the world at the present time. This upgrading will benefit the dairy industry and others in that area.

This is a major construction and upgrading project which has very significant benefits for the local community, the tourism industry and all who want to visit those parts. But it is interesting to note that the Labor Party were not in favour of upgrading the Great Ocean Road. They were opposed to it, and the former member for Corangamite was accusing the coalition of just wanting to dynamite the coast road. We are upgrading it so tourists can enjoy it. But Labor does not want the roads of Australia to be upgraded. We will get on with building the roads of the 21st century and we will do it efficiently and well, in partnership with the state governments.