Council has received official confirmation that $109 million of committed funding for the Sealing the Hills roads program, has been discontinued and withdrawn by the federal government.
On 10 January 2023, council received a letter from Minister of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King MP, confirming that the vital unsealed roads funding had been reduced.
Cardinia Shire Council Mayor Councillor Tammy Radford expressed her disappointment in the federal government’s decision.
“We are extremely disappointed about the federal government’s decision to withdraw committed funding for the vital unsealed roads project, ‘Sealing the Hills’.
“Despite our ongoing advocacy to secure the best outcomes for the community, calls to restore this funding in its entirety, were left unanswered.”
Despite already commencing designs, environmental investigations, and consultations with residents, this funding cut means that the delivery of numerous roads packages by council is now not possible.
“We are understandably devastated on behalf of our communities in the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding townships, that we are now unable to deliver all road upgrades originally included in the program, as intended.” she said.
“These works were vital to the development of the existing townships in the Hills and would have greatly improved community safety and access to community facilities and amenities, while reducing dust, pollution, and maintenance issues.”
Annual progress payments were initially proposed by the federal government in 2019 and outlined that Cardinia Shire would receive $10 million in funding at this stage into the sealing program.
Council has gone above and beyond to deliver these essential road upgrades for the community and is currently ahead of the expected schedule, previously receiving $22 million in funding from the federal government.
A total of $41 million in funding has now been secured to deliver selected road packages currently underway.
“We will continue to prioritise improving our road network and advocating for future funding to seal roads within the Hills.”
Council is working to clarify the potential impacts that this funding cut will have on projects.
“We are committed to working closely with the community to build better local roads for the future, and we will be keeping our community informed as we know more.” Mayor Radford said.