MORE than a year after losing the seat of Indi, Sophie Mirabella has re-emerged to claim credit from Liberal Party colleagues for nearly $2 million for Indigo Shire roadworks.
The former Liberal Party federal member was a surprise guest at a project announcement by former federal colleague, the member for Farrer Sussan Ley and Wodonga state MP Bill Tilley.
Ms Ley made the announcement on behalf of infrastructure assistant minister Jamie Briggs.
“This, as many of you know, was a pre-election commitment of the Coalition government and I can absolutely say that the roads we are announcing today — $1.8 million of work in the Indigo Shire — are, in fact, the work of Sophie Mirabella,” Ms Ley said.
While congratulated by fellow Liberals, Mrs Mirabella declined to speak to the media or answer questions.
About 10 kilometres of gravel road will be sealed under the plan. There also will be new turning lanes and intersection re-alignments.
The upgrade of a five-kilometre stretch of Carlyle Road will start as early as next month, followed by three kilometres of Soldiers Road and 1.75 kilometres of Sanatorium Road.
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney said he expected the work would be completed by mid-next year.
“The roads definitely need an upgrade because they are main roads for the wine industry, cropping, the sheep industry,” Cr Gaffney said.
“You will have gravel dirt roads becoming sealed roads and that’s a huge safety factor, particularly with one of those roads sitting on the Murray Valley Highway.”
It is expected the changes will reduce travel time and cut transport costs by up to 25 per cent.
The council is also predicting it will save $10,000 a year in maintenance.
Member for Indi Cathy McGowan was later mystified why she had not been invited to the announcement.
“It’s really odd that I didn’t receive an invite,” Ms McGowan said.
“I’m going to ring the minister and see what the protocol is on it — I’d like to think they forgot to ask me.
“From what I understand, Indigo Shire wasn’t pushing it.
“It is all really old news and this is the tail-end of it.”