Continued push for interchange


By Jackson Russell

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says he’s happy to meet with the Member for McEwen and Mitchell Shire Council to discuss the Watson Street interchange project.

Despite no commitment from the Coalition during the election campaign, Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said he would keep pushing to fund the Watson Street interchange.

The $46 million project will ease congestion woes in Wallan and the rest of Mitchell Shire with the completion of the diamond interchange off the Hume Freeway.

The project requires a $23 million investment from the Federal Government and a matching amount from the State Government to get started.

Mr Mitchell said he had already written letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and was waiting on a response.

“Now that we’ve got a ministry list, we’ve sent letters to ministers and I have flagged with a couple of them that I want to open discussions on this when Parliament resumes,” he said.

Mr Mitchell said Liberal candidate Phillip Fusco had acknowledged the Watson Street interchange as a worthwhile project and hoped the Federal Government would follow.

“It’s a high priority. The Federal Government has invested nothing in roads infrastructure in our region and it would be nice after six years if they would address that situation,” he said.

“Here’s a perfect opportunity for them to come and put money on the table for projects that are worthwhile.”

In a statement to the North Cental Review, Mr McCormack, who serves as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said it was not true that McEwen had not received federal infrastructure investment since the Coalition came to government.

“Communities around the McEwen electorate have had more than $735 million committed thanks to the Liberals and Nationals in government,” he said.

“The recent federal budget boosted funding for local roads, with every local council in McEwen receiving a 25 per cent boost to invest in local road projects it determines a priority, taking investment around the electorate to $70.7 million.

“Mitchell Shire will receive $13.4 million in Roads to Recovery funding to invest in projects.

“I am happy to meet with any MP or council who wants to bring a specific project to my attention and consider a request for further Federal Government investment.”