Bypass funding cut delivers devastating blow

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Councillor Shane Sali, said the removal of funding for the Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton Bypass Stage 1 is a huge blow to Greater Shepparton, the State of Victoria and the nation.

The Federal Government announced today the scrapping of more than 80 infrastructure projects across Australia including the GV Highway Shepparton Bypass in a 90 Day Review of Infrastructure.

“We were allocated $208 million in 2019-2020 Federal Budget to progress this critical piece of road infrastructure which has now been removed. That funding could have provided a start on projects which are vitally important, such as design, reviewing and completing technical investigations, acquisition of land and developing key links to a second river crossing,” said Cr Sali.

“The intersection of Wanganui Road, Numurkah Road and Ford Road desperately needs a roundabout to improve safety which is part of where this funding would have gone. Wanganui Road is a key link for the second river crossing.”

“The October 2022 floods cut the connection between the north east and the north west of the state for several days. During this time essential workers were unable to cross the Goulburn River to work at the hospital. We had to have supplies brought in by helicopter to meet the needs of the community all because there is no second river crossing,” said Cr Sali.

“It is very disappointing that the Federal government has categorised this project as lacking merit and strategic rationale,” he said. Many project have survived the cut that are clearly not on a nationally significant freight route.

“Council has been working with the Australian and Victorian Governments to progress this project over several years and to have the rug pulled out from under us now is devastating.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the significance of this project was well understood. The question is, where has the $208m allocated to the Bypass gone?” said Cr Sali.

“The Shepparton Bypass would have transformed the region’s freight capacity and improved safety for drivers and visitors to the region through diversion of significant volumes of heavy vehicle movement from Shepparton and Mooroopna’s CBD. The GV Highway is a key freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane and removing heavy vehicles is necessary.”

“Now the Bypass is off the table for who knows how long?” said Cr Sali. “We have dealt with lockdowns from COVID, a devastating flood event followed by storm events, all of which we had no control over but are recovering from.”

“Politics should be removed when making decisions on critical infrastructure upgrades.”

/Public Release. View in full here.