There are no assurances of funding for a second Echuca-Moama bridge from the major Liberal and Labor parties ahead of the September election.By Jess Craig
Federal Liberal and Labor parties will offer no bridge sweeteners for Echuca-Moama voters ahead of next month’s election.
Murray incumbent Sharman Stone and Farrer Liberal counterpart Sussan Ley each said they would advocate for a new Echuca-Moama bridge under a Tony Abbott-led government, but stopped short of committing funds.
Labor, battling through candidate Rod Higgins to claw back ground in Murray, the safest Liberal seat in the country, also refused to make any promises.
‘‘If I am elected, I will attempt to convince the government that the bridge is needed,’’ Mr Higgins said.
‘‘It’s certainly an issue. There’s a desperate need for the bridge and something needs to be done soon.’’
Despite the fact there is still no agreed route, the NSW Coalition in October last year offered $60 million, which remains the only firm money on the table.
In April, NSW Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay said the Federal Government needed to ‘‘step up’’ and commit funding for the second bridge crossing.
Dr Stone said she would pursue Federation money once the route had been finalised.
‘‘Funding depends on the route. We need a definitive quote on costs; it’s still a way down the track in terms of determining a dollar amount,’’ Dr Stone said.
‘‘Sussan Ley and I are certainly pursuing it and the bridge is on my list of priorities to secure funding.’’
Dr Stone said she would fight to reclaim the ‘‘critical’’ $14
‘‘The government claims they took the grant because it had been sitting unused for so long, given there was no route agreement,’’ she said.
Depending on the final route, the bridge could cost as much as $200
In July, the Victorian Government announced it had put the original mid-west option for Echuca-Moama’s second bridge ‘‘back on the table’’.
At the time, Committee for Echuca Moama chief executive Hayden Cock believed the option was back on the table because the mid-west two options, which had been the focus of VicRoads’ studies, were too expensive.
The ‘B’ route was preferred by Campaspe and Murray shires and the Yorta Yorta Nations of the four proposed mid-west two routes.
Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder said Planning Minister Matthew Guy had received an Environmental Effect Statement referral, with an assessment on all options expected to take 12 months.
‘‘The EES process involves bringing together all the investigations that have been undertaken by VicRoads to date that cover the physical, environmental, heritage, cultural, social and economic impacts of a second bridge crossing into a comprehensive assessment,’’ Mr Mulder said.
‘‘There has been a significant body of work that VicRoads has undertaken to date that will form the basis of this process, including traffic, social, noise, economic, flora and fauna, land use planning, environment and cultural heritage perspective studies undertaken on options within the current mid-west two corridor and the previously investigated mid-west corridor.’’
Mr Cock said the decision to assess the original mid-west option was sensible and that the financial savings could seal the deal to have a new bridge.
‘‘The bottom line is it is better to have a bridge than no bridge at all,’’ he said.
A Shepparton bus service that takes nightclub patrons home safely is celebrating its fifth anniversary of operation this weekend.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Moama's Shirley Durrant has been wowing district pudding eaters for the past 23 years with her Christmas delights.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
A group of volunteers have worked to revitalise the Cobram motorcross track to improve safety and attract new members to the club.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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