By Esther Lauaki
Wyndham council is backing calls for the Auditor-General to review a $3 billion federal government program to deal with traffic congestion.
The Urban Congestion Fund is the latest scheme at the centre of pork-barrelling accusations by the opposition, which claims the Coalition unfairly distributed the money to benefit the government ahead of last year’s federal poll.
Wyndham mayor Josh Gilligan is now asking why the municipality missed out on a share of the multi-billion-dollar federal government fund to ease congestion in urban areas.
Cr Gilligan said Wyndham was in desperate need of funding to tackle congestion on the city’s roads.
“We are one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia and have the highest proportion of workers commuting two or more hours a day in all of Victoria,” he said.
“Wyndham has not seen a single cent from the $3 billion Urban Congestion Fund, despite overwhelming need for congestion-busting projects like Wyndham West Link and the electrification of the Wyndham Vale line, which urgently need federal funding.”
Lalor MP Joanne Ryan last year made a $50 million election commitment to building the Wyndham West Link.
Ms Ryan said: “ in order to ease congestion, reduce travel times and meet the growing needs of the Wyndham region, we need to invest in vital infrastructure such as the Wyndham West Link.”
Cr Gilligan said Wyndham traffic congestion remains a high priority for the council.
“We have no doubt that the auditor general will realise that the federal government’s Urban Congestion Fund needs to prioritise areas like Wyndham, where congestion has been proven to be a huge concern for residents,” he said.