Media Release: Spend Grand Prix losses on Western District roads

Money wasted on the annual Grand Prix in Melbourne would be better directed toward fixing the states rural road networks, according to Western District MP James Purcell.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation Annual Report tabled today shows government investment of $61.7 million to host this year’s Grand Prix event at Albert Park. This loss comes on the back of an almost $60 million loss in 2014 and $50 million the previous year.

“The money wasted on the Grand Prix would be much better spent on improving roads in Western Victoria,” said Mr Purcell.

“VicRoads has identified that roads in Western Victoria are below the standards of other rural areas in the state and has estimated a cost of $220 million to bring it up to these standards. Four years of Grand Prix funding would fix our roads.”

Mr Purcell says an improved road network would encourage investment in the region, create efficiencies for businesses and improve safety.

Western Victoria’s roads have dominated discussion in Parliament in the lead up to the Polworth and South West Coast bi-elections.

Mr Purcell yesterday asked the government for funding for road upgrades in the region and invited the Minister for Roads to take a ride in a milk tanker and experience first hand the state of roads in the region and the effect it is having on the community.

Mr Purcell condemned both the government and opposition for their lack of funding for the road network in Western Victoria.

“Imagine the frustration in my region. We have the worst roads in the state. This was the case even when the opposition was in government and we had Premier Napthine and the previous Roads Minister representing our region.”

Mr Purcell said he was disappointed that the Labor Government was again ignoring the Western District by choosing not to run a candidate in the upcoming Polworth and South West Coast bi-elections.

“If those in my region or I were the least bit cynical it could be thought that this concentration on our region and its roads is due only to the upcoming bi-elections.

“So I ask the minister to do what the opposition did not and provide more money for upgrades on roads in Western Victoria.”