House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Statements by Members

Infrastructure: Water

1:33 pm

Photo of Sam BirrellSam Birrell (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The mighty Murray River is the lifeblood of regional communities, but I don't rise today to speak about the water that Labor is wanting to rip away from productive agriculture. Instead I want to talk about bridges, the infrastructure that connects communities along the length of our greatest river. The old Echuca-Moama Bridge stood in use for 143 years, long after it ceased to meet the needs of communities and regional and interstate freight. A new bridge opened on April 11 last year. The $323 million project was backed by the member for Gippsland as minister and was jointly funded by the New South Wales and Victorian governments. Minister King likes to say in this place, 'You can't drive on a press release,' but the Echuca-Moama Bridge was designed, funded and built by a coalition government, and you can drive on it. I have driven on it. In fact, 10,000 cars a day drive on it.

It's time for a similar joint project to replace the Yarrawonga-Mulwala bridge in my electorate. The bridge has some sinkage, a sag in the middle. It's safe, but it's single lane and it's well short of what is needed to take the volume of traffic, including tourists and freight. We built bridges. It's time for the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth governments to come together and design, fund and build a new bridge across the Murray River between Mulwala and Yarrawonga. The government is 133 days into a 90-day review of infrastructure. You can't drive on that, but you can drive on the Echuca-Moama bridge.