Only one of 33 projects announced under the government's $150 million road upgrade plan has been awarded to a Labor-held seat, with flood and fire-damaged areas in the nation's southeast likely to suffer as a result.
Coalition-held seats will overwhelmingly benefit from the Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program funding announced last week. The only Labor-held seat to win funding is the marginal Tasmanian seat of Lyons, which Liberal strategists believe could flip blue on May 21.
The extraordinary skew towards Coalition seats raises serious concerns over how the federal government allocates funding for road infrastructure using taxpayers' funds.
Analysis of the package unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on April 18 shows Labor electorates received just 3 per cent of funding, while 86 per cent of the promised projects were distributed to Coalition seats.
Labor holds about 20 per cent of all regional and remote seats, including Eden-Monaro, Gilmore and Lingiari.
Lingiari encompasses the majority of the Northern Territory and is one of the largest electorates by area in the country. It received no funding for any neglected road upgrades.
ACM spoke to voters in Eden-Monaro, who all voiced frustration federal taxpayer funds were not being allocated to roads in their region which have been crippled due to recent flooding.
Bombala resident Patrice Clear said the potholes on Mila Road had become the size of craters and conditions had become so dangerous that she was fearful of putting her kids on the school bus.
"There's just big craters in it. Its that abrasive on your tires and its shocking to drive on it and it's scary," Mrs Clear said.
"I'm actually fearful for putting my children on the school bus because it's such a dangerous road."
Mrs Clear warned it was a ticking time bomb before the quality of the road resulted in a fatality.
The skew of funding towards Coalition seats follows on from Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, brushing off pork barrelling accusations the federal government between the budget and calling the election had dished out $116 million in grants to targeted marginal seats.
Payments made in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook last week showed 15 projects were given funding through Community Development Grants, with six being awarded to projects in highly marginal Labor seats.
On Brindabella Road towards Tumut, local Brian Nancarrow said the quality of thoroughfare to Canberra was a "disaster" and the "worst it has ever been".
"We have fallen so far behind in our infrastructure," he said. "It's very dangerous and it needs urgent repairs."
Mr Nancarrow also said it had become disappointing that voters expected political parties to favour some electorates over others, flagging funding for neglected roads should be on a case-by-case basis and factor in overall safety.
Deborah Jeffs from Wyndham said the recent deluge which hit the east coast of the county caused her local road to become completely useless, with traffic having to go off-road in order to pass.
"We really need more funding for rural roads," she said.
"It's an emergency now. It's dangerous."
A number of projects were also awarded in the seat of Kennedy, which is held by independent Bob Katter and funding was also thrown at the marginal seat of Indi held by Helen Haines.
Seven projects through the plan were awarded to the safe Liberal-National seat of Maranoa in Queensland, which held by David Littleproud on a margin of 22.5 per cent.
Melissa Prices' seat of Durack in Western Australia received $4.1 million in funding, while the Liberal held seat of Bass on a wafer thin margin of 0.4 per cent was allocated $461,000.
Mr Joyce's seat of New England was awarded $2 million over three projects. Liberal MP Susan Ley's electorate of Farrar obtained close to $6.8 million in funds for three projects.
My Joyce in his statement on April 18 said the money targeted roads that had been neglected for years.
"Our government believes regional Australians deserve the same standard of living and opportunities as people living in capital cities," he said.
"Improving remote roads will keep motorists safe and freight moving, ensuring regional businesses can continue to get their products to ports quickly and safely."
Mrs Clear from Bombala said fixing the state of the roads on the South Coast has been a voting issue since she was child.
"It just saddens me the fact that we're going to the polls again, and my kids are asking, 'Oh mummy who are you voting for', and I'm saying the same age-old stories my mother and father said: 'Whoever fixes roads'," she said.
"The money is not filtering through to where it's supposed to be.
"Someone needs to be made accountable from the top down to getting it where it should be going."
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