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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 708


Ms CHESTERS ( Bendigo ) ( 16:14 ): Funding for Infrastructure Australia has always been a partnership between state and federal governments, yet since the election of the Victorian coalition government the Ravenswood interchange on the Calder Highway has sat in the too hard basket. They have dragged their feet on the planning and failed to list this project as a key priority for Victoria. Because of this delay, they have put safety at risk. Apparently, according to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, his state government has finally started the necessary paperwork for this project to be completed. Really? Then why is the Victorian Minister for Transport refusing to allow VicRoads to meet with the local federal member—me—to discuss this project?

Knowing how urgent this project is, I contacted VicRoads and asked them for a briefing on the Calder network and in particular this project. To date the Victorian Minister for Transport has refused to allow me to meet with local representatives to discuss this project. It is an outrageous attack on our democracy to deny the elected local member access to an arm of the public service to discuss such an important issue. As the federal member for Bendigo it is my role to stand up for my community and to hold the new coalition government to account to make sure they deliver on their election promises. Let's hope that the state and federal coalition governments do the right thing and fund this project immediately before it is too late.