The Federal Government has unlocked more than $22 million to deliver five priority upgrades and scoping and development works on the Calder Highway between Melbourne and Mildura.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government is investing in greater freight productivity to reduce costs for regional Victorian businesses.

“These projects on the Calder Highway are part of the Australian Government’s commitment to improving safety and productivity on the Melbourne to Mildura corridor under our Roads of Strategic Importance initiative,” Minister McCormack said.

Member for Mallee Anne Webster said the funding approval also covered $4.3 million for scoping and development works to identify options for further funding along the corridor.

“This is about supporting the regions surrounding the Calder Highway/Freeway corridor, which generate nationally significant levels of exports of agricultural produce such as grain, fruits, nuts and livestock, as well as supporting the Murray Basin’s significant and expanding mineral mining industry,” Dr Webster said.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the funding would deliver an initial tranche of vital upgrades, including new overtaking lanes, an intersection upgrade and other improvements along the corridor.

“A northbound and southbound overtaking lane between Marong and Bridgewater, upgrades to the Baileys Road Intersection at Sea Lake, installing wide centre lines between the Sunraysia Highway and Red Cliffs and a southbound overtaking lane south of Hattah are the initial priorities to be delivered,” Minister Allan said.

Member for Mallee Anne Webster said the funding approval also covered $4.3 million for scoping and development works to identify options for further funding along the corridor.

“This is about supporting the regions surrounding the Calder Highway/Freeway corridor, which generate nationally significant levels of exports of agricultural produce such as grain, fruits, nuts and livestock, as well as supporting the Murray Basin’s significant and expanding mineral mining industry,” Dr Webster said.

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp also welcomed the unlocking of funds that will complement the Victorian Government’s investment in the growing region.

“These upgrades compliment the Victorian Government’s massive investment supporting schools, TAFE, hospitals and agriculture – as we continue to work really hard to create more jobs for this growing region,” he said.