$2.2 BILLION BOOST TO ROAD SAFETY

The Liberals and Nationals will deliver an additional $2.2 billion in road safety funding to help save lives and reduce the burden of road trauma on the community.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said road safety was everyone’s responsibility but Government had a key role to play in delivering safer roads and vehicles.

“The Liberal and Nationals’ Government is committed to doing its bit to ensure Australians get home safely from every journey on our roads, and this substantial funding injection and other new road safety initiatives demonstrate that,” the Prime Minister said.

“Today’s announcement locks in an additional $1.1 billion in funding for local governments under the Roads to Recovery program, which facilitates the enhancement of road safety infrastructure in regional Australia.

“It will also deliver an extra $550 million for the successful Black Spot Program, which targets known high-risk locations and reduces serious crashes by 30 per cent on average.

“We will deliver a further $571.1 million to improve the safety and efficiency of heavy vehicle operations through the Bridges Renewal Program, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives (HVSI).”

Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Budget would help deliver safer roads through a variety of other initiatives, including establishing a new Office of Road Safety to facilitate a greater leadership role for the Australian Government.

“Safer roads save lives. They also create jobs in construction and boost productivity,” Mr McCormack said,

“So the Liberals and Nationals are building safer roads and bridges. This means safer heavy vehicle operations, which is critical to our goal of reducing road trauma on the nation’s roads.

“New funding to the HVSI will build on the other 30 projects delivered through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to date.

“2018 saw 81 fewer deaths nationwide compared to 2017, but there is no room for complacency. We must push ahead with practical measures and infrastructure funding to drive road deaths towards zero.

“These measures will also include a new $12 million 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.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said a new Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund would offer $4 million in targeted and competitive grants to fund road safety awareness, education and collaboration initiatives.

“We are also backing local governments to prioritise safety, providing a further $2.55 million to the Australian Road Research Board to help councils keep abreast of the latest road safety design and maintenance innovations when managing their local road assets,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This is in addition to renewed commitments to fostering the skills of new drivers through the Keys2drive program, continued funding to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to encourage the purchase of safer vehicles, and an ongoing commitment to safer vehicle design through rigorous and globally harmonised Australian Design Rules.

“The Government will also place road safety at the heart of its infrastructure investment program by prioritising safe system principles in line with the National Road Safety Strategy.”

The Government is committed to working in a bipartisan spirit to progress the 12 recommendations made by the National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry in September 2018.

The additional funding announced today builds on the Australian Government’s current investment of around $2.6 billion in safety-enhancing projects, bringing the total investment to $3.1 billion per year over the period 2019–20 to 2022–23.

Hannah Maguire