$360 MILLION TO COMPLETE WESTERN HIGHWAY DUPLICATION TO STAWELL

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has committed $360 million to complete the Western Highway duplication from Ballarat to Stawell by delivering the final section between Ararat and Stawell.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said completing the duplication will boost capacity, drive freight efficiencies to lower business costs and improve safety along the highway.

“This is great news for the mix of regional communities and industries who rely on the Western Highway to link to major agriculture including grain, timber, horticulture and livestock production areas of western Victoria and South Australia to Melbourne, Adelaide and the associated export market,” Mr McCormack said.

Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the highway is one of the busiest freight routes in Australia.

“More than 6,000 vehicles travel the Western Highway west of Ballarat each day, including 1,500 trucks – and the expected doubling of those traffic figures by 2025 makes the completion of the upgrade absolutely vital,” Mr Tehan said.

The Nationals Candidate for Mallee Anne Webster said the project is expected to support hundreds of jobs during construction.

“As well as improving safety and easing congestion, the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has a proud record of delivery of job-creating investment in infrastructure, including critical regional projects such as this,” Dr Webster said.

Liberal Candidate for Mallee Serge Petrovich said the sections between Ballarat and Ararat are expected to be completed in mid-2020.

“This new commitment builds on the Government’s existing commitment of $499.4 million to the staged duplication and also complements investments across the length of the Western Highway corridor, including $50 million towards preconstruction works for future bypasses of Beaufort and Ararat to ensure this important corridor is able to support the growing freight task and communities that rely on it every day,” Mr Petrovich said.

Joint funding arrangements and a delivery timeframe for the section between Ararat and Stawell will be finalised in partnership with the Victorian Government.

Hannah Maguire