The Victorian Auditor General has tabled his report, Maintaining State Controlled Roadways, examining how VicRoads maintains the arterial road network.
The report looks at VicRoads’ historical approach to maintaining roads, concluding that there were shortcomings in planning and prioritising investment, managing data and measuring performance under the approach that is now being phased out.
VicRoads Chief Executive, John Merritt, responded to the report, acknowledging the findings and recommendations which VicRoads is already putting in place.
“This audit reflects a past approach, and we are well advanced in a reform program that is transforming the way we plan and deliver road maintenance across Victoria,” Mr Merritt said.
“We have a statewide system in place to drive the best investment decisions based on a strategic view of the network.
“The Victorian economy has changed significantly since many of our roads were built. With Melbourne’s rapid growth and the changing transport needs in regional Victoria to support new and emerging industries, there is much more demand on road infrastructure.
“The 2017-18 State Budget funding, which doubles expenditure for road pavement maintenance, was based on recommendations developed by us, using our new pavement management approach.”
The new pavement management approach includes initiatives such as:
- Internal organisation changes to form a more cohesive Regional Services Division and centralised Asset Services business to better plan, prioritise and deliver the maintenance program across Victoria
- A community engagement program throughout regional Victoria to ensure that VicRoads understand what is important to regional Victorians so it can use the intelligence to inform decisions
- Different maintenance delivery models, with an intent to deliver the best outcomes to community and deliver on clear performance criteria
Mr Merritt said community input will be regularly sought to influence maintenance priorities.
“Involving communities and industries in the decisions that affect their livelihoods demands a new approach.
“It’s become very clear that we need to engage communities regularly on the issues that matter most to them and this will not be a one-off conversation,” Mr Merritt said.