In September 2018, Australia demonstrated strong road safety leadership with Deputy Prime Minister Hon Michael McCormack MP launching the findings of the independent National Road Safety Inquiry that includes 12 key recommendations to transform the country’s road crash burden and save lives.
Almost 6 months later, on 21 March 2019, ahead of the Federal Budget Announcement, Australian Road Safety Experts Make Video Plea for Urgent Action: “the delay is killing us”
On the 29 March 2019, the Federal Government announced a AUD$2.2 Billion boost to Road safety, including the establishment of a National Office of Road Safety. Other major inclusions were:
- An additional AUD$1.1 billion in funding for local governments under the Roads to Recovery program, which allows investment in road safety infrastructure in regional Australia.
- An extra AUD$550 million for the successful Black Spot Program, which targets known high-risk locations and reduces serious crashes by 30 per cent, on average.
- A further AUD$571.1 million to improve the safety and efficiency of heavy vehicle operations.
- A AUD$12 million Road Safety Innovation Fund and a $4 million Road Safety Enablers Fund.
iRAP fully supports this announcement and stands ready to support our local AusRAP partners achieve an Australia free of high-risk roads. The Australian Automobile Association (AAA), ARRB and Austroads together with the local mobility clubs, and state and territory road agencies are already actively implementing the AusRAP evidence-based approach with success (see Bruce Highway case study).
Establishing a formal AusRAP unit will bring important national coordination and rigour to infrastructure and speed management investment and innovation that will unlock the potential of safer roads to save lives and help measure success. Incorporating minimum star rating targets and road safety as a key criterion for Infrastructure Australia investment and road design standards is a must. Establishing a Safer Roads Fund to target the highest risk roads in the country will deliver life-saving and injury-reducing results to local government roads that will also unlock savings to the health, welfare and insurance sector.
Importantly the Inquiry Recommendations also highlight the critical role for Australia to work closely with countries in our region to improve road safety.