Hepburn Shire Council manages around 612 km of sealed road and 844 km unsealed road. Like other small Councils, the Shire finds it a challenge to keep up with demand for upgrades, repairs and maintenance.

Inevitably difficult decisions about which roads get priority have to be made each year with the limited budget available.

“Council regularly receives requests from the community for roads to be upgraded. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough financial resources or access to grants to act on every request,” said Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt.

Hepburn Shire has adopted an Asset Management Policy, a new Road Upgrade Policy and opened its draft Road Management Plan for community feedback.

The Road Upgrade Policy provides residents and Council with a framework for assessing and prioritising road upgrade requests.

“The Road Upgrade Policy outlines a strategic way to determine which roads will be prioritised in our Council budget each year,” said Cr Hewitt.

The policy details four key principles and evaluation criteria to assess the viability of road upgrade requests. The principles are transport benefit, safety criteria, community benefit and financial benefit. Under the policy road upgrade requests can be submitted to Council for assessment against the criteria for council consideration each year.

Council will assess and rank the applications against the four principles, with scores attributed to certain criteria, such as the number of impacted dwellings, road traffic volume and whether the road is a bus route.

“Responsibly managing our assets and providing the best value for ratepayers is an ongoing challenge that we take very seriously,” said Cr Hewitt. “This policy will help us to make strategic decisions about maintaining and upgrading roads around the Shire.”

To request your road to be upgraded you can raise a service request on Council’s website or call the Customer Service Team on 5348 2306.

Council has also reviewed its Municipal Road Management Plan which sets the level of service for road infrastructure including inspection regimes and maintenance response times.

Under the Road Management Act 2004, the Road Management Plan must be reviewed every four years and finalised by 30 June following a general Council election.

“We know our roads are very important to the community, so we encourage you to take a look at the draft Road Management Plan and provide feedback,” said Cr Hewitt.

The proposed Road Management Plan is available for inspection at Council offices in Daylesford, Clunes, Creswick and Trentham, the Daylesford Library and the Participate Hepburn website at https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Submissions on the plan are due to Council by 5.00pm on Thursday 20 May 2021. In your submission, you should indicate whether you, or your representative, would like to speak to your submission at the Special Council Meeting scheduled for 6.00pm on Tuesday 8 June 2021 at the Daylesford Town Hall.

Submissions should be addressed  to the Chief Executive Officer, Hepburn Shire Council, PO Box 21, Daylesford VIC 3460, emailed to shire@hepburn.vic.gov.au, or via the Participate Hepburn website.

Council will consider the Road Management Plan for adoption at the Special Council Meeting scheduled for 6.00pm on Tuesday 29 June 2021 at the Daylesford Town Hall.