THE federal government has promised to spend an additional $2.2 billion in road safety funding to continue work under existing programs that focus on repairing regional roads, fixing dangerous black spots, renewing bridges and improving safety and productivity in the heavy commercial vehicle sector.
The Coalition will also establish an Office of Road Safety.
The body would “provide a national point for collaboration and leadership on key road safety priorities, working closely with states, territories, local government, and key road safety stakeholders”, infrastructure, transport and regional development minister Michael McCormack said.
Also included will be $12 million on a new Road Safety Innovation Fund “to support research and development in priority areas such as regional road safety, driver distraction from mobile devices, protecting vulnerable road users and reducing drug driving”.
The federal governments boost to the Roads to Recovery program includes
- $1.1 billion in funding for local governments under the Roads to Recovery Program
- $550 million for the Black Spot Program, which targets known high-risk locations
- A total of $571.1 million in funding for the Bridges Renewal Program, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, and Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives.
The successful black spot program, which is said to have been effective in reducing serious crashes by 30 per cent on average.
A further $571.1 million will be spent on improving the safety and efficiency of heavy vehicle operations via the bridges renewal program, heavy vehicle safety and productivity program and heavy vehicle safety initiatives (known as HVSI)
“More than a thousand Australians died on our roads last year,” Mr Morrison said. “That’s devastating. These are mums who didn’t make it home from work, or children that didn’t make it to school.
“These programs mean local councils decide where the money should be spent. They are in the best position to identify black spots and problem areas.
“This is why a strong economy is so important. It allows us to invest in safer roads that save lives.”
Deputy prime minister, Nationals’ leader and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development, Michael McCormack, said the new Office of Road Safety will provide “a national point for collaboration and leadership on key road safety priorities, working closely with states, territories, local government and key road safety stakeholders”.