Speed limit reduction on Princes Highway

Mr PURCELL (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Regional Development. Lack of consultation in regional Victoria is becoming a very disturbing fact. An example of this, and there are many of them, is that last week the speed limit on a large proportion of the Princes Highway between Port Fairy and Warrnambool was reduced from 100 kilometres per hour to 80 kilometres per hour without any consultation. This is a very busy road, and this impacts thousands of people. A lack of consultation seems to be a recurring theme in regional Victoria, and local issues are constantly being decided without any consultation.

Therefore I asked the minister: does the government have a protocol they follow for community consultation in regional Victoria?

 

Ms PULFORD (Minister for Regional Development) — I thank Mr Purcell for his question and certainly reassure Mr Purcell that our government is very deeply engaged in the issues that matter to people in regional Victoria and consults closely with different communities on different matters all the time. I certainly spend time every week working with and discussing matters of importance to people in regional Victoria. There is no better example of this than the new regional partnerships, which are soon to celebrate their first birthday. This is the most inclusive program of community involvement in government decision-making in our state's history.

In fact the first of the 2017 regional assemblies, where ministers and other members of the government meet with members of the community who wish to come and talk to us about matters of importance to them, is to be held in Swan Hill next week. This has been a broad and a far-reaching reform and goes to the question of the highest priorities for communities and the way that government both hears from and responds to them.

Mr Purcell's question, though, did go to a specific road project. If it may assist Mr Purcell, I could take that part of the question about what specific protocols VicRoads might have in place, which is beyond my usual remit as Minister for Regional Development, on notice for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.