Road plan to be developed

A PLAN for the future of Gippsland’s road networks will be developed as part of a strategic vision for the region.

Speaking after a business and industry round-table in the Latrobe Valley on Friday, which included Federal Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean, State Regional and Rural Minister Peter Ryan said the Valley lacked an integrated plan for future road transport requirements.

“It is no longer just a question of moving traffic transport from region to region…it is very much an issue around having appropriate road transport systems of a ‘hub and spoke’ type,” Mr Ryan said.

“For example, in the dairy industry we need to concentrate more effort, I think, into making sure we can get the product off the farm and back into the factory.

“In the case of Australian Paper, for example, and working with industries associated with its future, how do we harvest the timber around locations in the Latrobe Valley and bring it back into a central location?” he said, adding that these issues had not been “developed appropriately “.

A consolidated plan at federal, state and local levels was lacking but would prove a “vital step forward for us”, he said. It is expected the Latrobe Valley Transition Committee will commence work on the plan.

Mr Ryan said he anticipated the plan would also address road infrastructure works required to see the Valley export coal.