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Local roads spending a win for farmers

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Farmers in South Gippsland will receive nearly $800,000 in funding to improve local agricultural roads under a Victorian Government scheme.

The Local Roads to Market Program was created out of the Victorian Government’s Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF), which was pushed as a condition of the VFF’s support for the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease in 2016.

The new grant will help fund the sealing and widening of 7 km of Labertouche North Road, which is used by dairy and beef producers, emergency services vehicles, and agriculture suppliers, and the replacement of the timber Powneys Road Bridge with a 14 m-long concrete bridge.

“These upgrades will improve productivity across the agriculture supply chain and improve the country road network for all users,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

“Labertouche North Road in particular is an unsealed gravel road that is a real safety risk for farmers and residents and needs to be upgraded.”

The first round of the program will contribute $11.5 million to 30 projects worth $22 million across 27 local government areas in regional and rural Victoria, including sealing dirt roads, widening intersections, and upgrading arterial roads.

Mr Jochinke said the number of projects being funded under the Program showed there was a need for continued investment in rural road upgrades and encouraged the Victorian Government to keep investing in the State’s regions.

“Farmers always tell me they face freight access problems and the Local Roads to Market Program goes a long way to addressing those issues,” he said.

“The Local Roads to Market Program is well worth the money to upgrade essential transport routes in rural areas and the Victorian Government would do well to expand the initiative so that regional communities and businesses can benefit from improved roads.”

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