Opinion

$2 billion for road safety projects

Scott-Buchholz

We all need to work towards lowering the rate of fatalities and serious injuries on Australian roads, and that’s why this is a core priority for the Government, and why the Budget is funding $2 billion towards road safety initiatives, continuing efforts to reduce road trauma in Australia.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, especially in the heavy vehicle and transport sector and the Government is playing our part by investing in road safety projects to get people where they need to be sooner and safer.

We have analysis from the Productivity Commission that the improvements in road infrastructure is a major factor in bringing down the rate of heavy vehicle crashes on our roads.

The Productivity Commission showed the rate of heavy vehicle crashes involving injury or death (over billion vehicle kilometers travelled) fell by about 40% between 2009 and 2019. While we have made great progress, there is still more to go, because every year nearly 200 Australians lose their lives in heavy vehicle accidents.

Through this funding we are committing an additional $2 billion over 18 months under a new Road Safety Program to deliver an estimated 3,000 kilometres of lifesaving road improvements and support thousands of jobs right across the country.

The program will deliver works such as new shoulder sealing, rumble strips to alert drivers they are moving out of their lane, median treatments to prevent head-on collisions and barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes and protect against roadside hazards.

The funding program will be delivered in three, six-month tranches and on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. Funds that States and Territories do not spend will be re-allocated to those that can, with jurisdictions required to provide road safety data as a key condition of funding.

We are ensuring this road-safety package can roll-out quickly, saving lives and reducing injuries.

Road crashes cost the national economy about $30 billion a year and caused immeasurable suffering for affected families. It is absolutely heartbreaking that every year around 1,200 people die on our roads and tens of thousands more are seriously injured.

One death on our roads is one too many, and we are working closely with our state and territory colleagues to ensure the next National Road Safety Strategy improves outcomes for all Australians.

To ensure our investments are driven by quality data and road safety improvements are accurately monitored and evaluated, we are also investing $5.5 million over four years to establish an Australian-first National Road Safety Data Hub.

The Data Hub will create the first nationally available road safety data collection to assess the effectiveness of road safety efforts by all Australian governments.

This will support our commitment to deliver the new National Road Safety Strategy and put Australia on a path to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050.

These additional investments build on the $500 million the Federal Government is already spending on Targeted Road Safety Works, boosting jobs and the economy while delivering life-saving upgrades in every single state and territory.

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