Federal partnership sought for WA road safety initiative

The Western Australian Government is calling for a state/federal partnership to deliver a nine-year strategy addressing single vehicle regional road crashes.

According to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, the strategy target is $100 million a year over nine years – $80 million from the Federal Government and $20 million from the state through the Road Trauma Trust Account.

“We’ve had some initial discussions about this program with the Federal Government, but I’m keen to talk to the Federal Minister about the benefits of such a program,” Ms. Saffioti said.

“I will be attending the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in Adelaide to bring this issue to wider attention. This is a plan that will save lives and it’s something we need to talk about at a national level – too many lives have been lost or affected by road trauma.”

Ms. Saffioti said of the 159 fatalities in WA last year, 100 occurred on regional roads, with most involving a single vehicle running off the road or drifting into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Infrastructure Australia in its 2019 Infrastructure Priority List noted that crashes in regional Australia between 2008 and 2016 accounted for 55 per cent of road deaths, which was four times greater than for major cities over the same period,” Ms. Saffioti said.

“The annual community cost of this trauma is $900 million, while the emotional trauma cannot be measured.”

Ms. Saffioti said the initiative focuses on a capital intensive program of civil construction works to provide sealed shoulders, install audible edge-lining and where required, metre-wide audible median or centre-lines on more than 17,400 kilometres of the regional road network.

“I am hoping the Federal Government will seriously consider a partnership to deliver a road safety strategy, which will be a game changer for regional WA,” Ms. Saffioti said.

“We believe the $1.2 billion they have locked away for the flawed Perth Freight Link would be better spent on a targeted program to save lives on regional roads.”

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