Paving the way to productivity

As the arteries of our regional infrastructure, roads are the lifelines connecting towns, workplaces, and vital supplies.

Yet, despite their paramount importance, our roads are in a dire state, plagued by wear and tear, inadequate maintenance, subpar construction, and a lack of recognition of their true value.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) raises these issues as urgent calls to action for the betterment of our communities, economies, and safety.

Firstly, wear and tear on roads is inevitable. However, we must acknowledge the need for proactive planning and forward-based strategies to mitigate the impacts.

Simply blaming heavy vehicles and throwing money at repairs is insufficient. We need comprehensive plans that address the ageing infrastructure and the high volume of use our roads endure.

Maintenance programs are also sorely lacking. The current system fails to recognise the depth of issues and the necessity of permanent repair crews stationed in regional areas.

It’s time to shift towards a model where permanent maintenance teams, integrated with VicRoads, address issues promptly, preventing the accumulation of unaddressed road defects.

Construction design lies at the root of many road issues. Historically inadequate surveying, poor topographical analysis, and substandard materials lead to premature breakdowns.

It’s imperative to raise our standards and invest in robust infrastructure that withstands the test of time and usage.

Productivity suffers when roads deteriorate. Trucks are not just vehicles but essential components of thriving communities.

As road quality declines, so do supply chain efficiencies, leading to increased operational costs and ultimately higher prices for consumers.

Investing in road infrastructure isn’t just a cost; it’s an investment in economic prosperity.

The question of responsibility looms large. While different levels of government over many successive terms have managed roads, the burden often falls disproportionately on local councils ill-equipped to handle major road defects.

The blame game between politicians and road managers must end, with concerted efforts to address systemic issues and improve collaboration.

The cost of road damage is significant, both for the freight industry and individual truck operators.

While the industry contributes through road user charges and fuel excise, these funds often fail to materialise into tangible improvements.

Moreover, the increased maintenance costs for heavy vehicles exacerbate financial strains on operators.

There will never be enough money to fully maintain our roads to the standard that we all want them to be, but the real issue is how do we get the best bang for our buck to keep the roads maintained so it’s not costing operators time and money in repairs and maintenance to heavy vehicles to service our customers using the roads that are available.

What we’re proposing is that we change the process and forward look towards our road infrastructure being efficient and meeting the standard that we all expect.

Those roads need to work, they need to work well, and people need to have confidence to drive and not fear having to slow down from 100 to 60km/h.

Beyond monetary concerns, the deteriorating state of our roads reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of their value.

Our roads underpin economic activity, tourism, and social connectivity. Neglecting them jeopardises the growth and well-being of our communities, stifling progress and impeding prosperity.

Road safety cannot be overlooked. While accidents are often attributed to driver error, poor road conditions contribute significantly to vehicle wear and tear, endangering lives and straining resources.

Merely addressing the symptoms won’t suffice; we need comprehensive reforms to ensure our roads are safe and sustainable for all users.

The issues plaguing Victoria’s roads demand urgent attention and concerted action. Band-aid solutions won’t suffice; we need systemic changes that address maintenance, construction, funding, and accountability.

The VTA urges stakeholders to prioritise road infrastructure investment, recognizing its pivotal role in our collective prosperity and well-being.

Failure to act risks not only economic repercussions but also compromises safety and quality of life for all Victorians. It’s time to pave the way for a brighter, smoother future on our roads.

  • Peter Anderson is CEO, Victorian Transport Association

1 Comment

  1. A problem with roads and other important infra-structure, is that decisions on all aspects (from initial planning, through to long-term maintenance) are usually made by politicians. In a modern society, national infra-structure needs to be planned for twenty-five to fifty years into the future, and longer. But, politicians can’t think beyond the next election, and how to be re-elected. Politicians are the biggest waste of money in this country. They are paid exorbitant salaries; yet, they don’t do anything worthy of those salaries. In my opinion, politicians should only receive half of their salary up front. If people are satisfied with their work, and they are re-elected; then, they can get the other half of their salary, for the previous term of government. If they aren’t re-elected, they lose that second half.

    [From: Roy. I’m a retired former truckie. I have a degree in Social Anthropology; I’ve previously been a member of three different unions; and, I was politically active for about twenty-five years, with three different political parties.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend