Calls for freeway budget allocation

Calder Action Group formed in 2007 with the view to improve the Calder (Damjan Janevski). 304982_01

Zoe Moffatt

The Calder Action Group is calling for more funding to upgrade the Calder Freeway from the state government, after it missed out on funding in the federal budget, handed down on May 9.

The Calder Freeway has been the subject of community concern for more than a decade and was named as one of states top 10 deadliest roads in 2021, with Brimbank council launching a ‘Fix the Calder Campaign’ the same year.

Both governments have committed $50 million to the project, but there has not been significant allocated funding included in budgets since.

Calder Action Group president Russell Mowatt said the community is in limbo without funding to upgrade the freeway.

“We’ve been pushing this as a community group for the last 10 years,” Mr Mowatt said. “We formed the group on June 7, 2007 with the view to improve the Calder.”

“Nothing’s happening, it’s getting worse, there’s still a lot of accidents [and] congestion is getting worse.

“The longer we leave it, the more it’s going to cost the government and community.”

Mr Mowatt said he was disappointed the freeway did not receive any funding in the federal budget, particularly for the Calder Park Drive and Calder Freeway Overpass project.

“In short the federal budget 2023-24 has given diddly-squat about the Calder Freeway,” he said.

“I[t] is a road of national importance but… not when budget time comes around from the federal government.”

With a current business case before a budget estimates committee, Mr Mowatt said he finds the lack of timely progress for the upgrades frustrating.

He said while housing developments were being approved, there was a lack of infrastructure to support the growing number of people who use the road.

“It begs the question where is all the money from the developer contribution going?

“It defies logic, you’re developing all these estates and you’ve got no infrastructure, it’s not up to speed, to excuse the pun.”

Mr Mowatt said while he is not confident there will be upgrades in the near future, he is still hopeful.

During his work with the Calder Action Group, Mr Mowatt said he has contacted state treasurer Tim Pallas with a submission to the 2023-24 Victorian state budget and Sunbury MP Josh Bull, but said Mr Bull had not replied.

Mr Bull said detailed planning work has been ongoing on this project and he will continue to advocate for the upgrade to the Major Infrastructure Minister.