Victorian Nationals deputy leader and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has slammed Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan after he labelled those concerned about the rollout of wire rope barriers ‘‘dingbats’’.
Mr Donnellan was in Ravenswood South (south of Bendigo) when he made the comments and said those with concerns can ‘‘go around playing banjos, playing conspiracy theories, rubbish like that, they need to actually deal with the facts and figures’’.
A number of politicians and residents have raised concerns about the implications the barriers would have on motorcyclists and emergency services access.
Ms Ryan labelled the comments ‘‘disrespectful’’ and ‘‘disgraceful’’.
‘‘These are the facts: longstanding CFA volunteers are concerned about emergency access, farmers are concerned they won’t be able to safely move machinery and many motorists are concerned the wire rope barrier doesn’t give enough room to pull off to the side of the road in the event a car is forced to stop on the side of the road,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘This kind of behaviour from a senior Cabinet minister is true to form for Daniel Andrews’ government.’’
Mr Donnellan was announcing $40million in funding to install more than 2000km of flexible safety barriers across regional Victoria.
The data shows run-off-road crashes were the leading cause in regional road accidents which claimed 155 lives on rural roads last year.
‘‘Drivers on country roads are four times more likely to be killed on our roads than drivers in the city,’’ Mr Donnellan said.
‘‘It’s simply unacceptable, that’s why we’re investing more than $1 billion to make our country roads safer.’’
Ms Ryan called for the government to halt the rollout until local communities had input.
‘‘All we want is for the government to engage with local communities about how and where wire rope barriers should be used,’’ she said.