The Federal Government has committed $33 billion over the next four years to improve road safety ahead of the election.
This $33 billion funding is part of the Federal Government’s record $120 billion, ten-year infrastructure investment program which is delivering new and existing infrastructure projects across the country and helping to improve safety outcomes, particularly in regional Australia.
In regional areas, the road fatality rate is disproportionately ten deaths per 100,000 persons compared to two deaths per 100,000 persons in metropolitan areas.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the Federal Government was increasing its focus on making Australia’s roads safer.
“We must do everything we can to reduce deaths on our roads and spare families from the immeasurable impact these tragedies have,” Mr Joyce said.
“Improving road safety is among our highest priorities. Better roads keep cars and trucks safe, delivering commuters to their destination, and products and commodities to supermarkets and ports.
“Roads are the critical arteries of our nation, not only supporting the movement of people but facilitating the flow of goods and commodities from regional businesses to supermarkets and ports.
“We must not only make roads safer, but more efficient. More reliable roads and freight routes will drive the growth of regional industries and ensure our valuable commodities can be sold to the world.”
The funding also includes $65.3 million for a new Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas Program to provide more vehicle rest areas on regional and rural roads, and to improve heavy vehicle rest areas that already exist.
Federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, said the program will benefit heavy vehicle drivers and the broader community by helping tackle fatigue and reducing the risk of crashes and high-risk behaviour.
“The new Heavy Vehicle Rest Area program builds on existing programs of investment to ensure the viability, safety, sustainability and efficiency of Australia’s road transport sector,” Mr Buchholz said.
“This new funding injection will assist State, Territory and local governments as well as industry to place a greater emphasis on heavy vehicle safety and fatigue management for heavy vehicle operators through investment in heavy vehicle rest stops.”
The 2022-23 Budget also established a new $180.1 million Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program to improve safety at level crossings across Australia.
The Federal Government has also committed to extend funding for three important road safety programs, including $12 million for the Road Safety Innovation Fund, $10 million for Driver Reviver Site Upgrades and $4 million for Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund.
The Federal Government aims to deliver national leadership on road safety as well as continuing to deliver vital road safety initiatives including the $3 billion Road Safety Program, $5.8 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, $7.2 billion Roads to Recovery Program and the $1.3 billion Black Spots Program.