- State seeks Federal funding to slash run-off and head-on crashes in regions
- WA Regional Road Safety Strategy outlines nine-year plan to tackle road trauma
- Modelling shows strategy could reduce regional road trauma by 60 per cent
- More than 17,400 kilometres of regional road flagged for upgrade in strategy
The McGowan Labor Government is calling for a Federal Government partnership to deliver a nine-year strategy to address single vehicle regional road crashes, saving lives and reducing serious injury on Western Australia's country roads.
The strategy target would be $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.
Previously, the McGowan Government has had a productive relationship with the Federal Government to deliver and fund road safety initiatives. This program would build on the successes of those investments with a wider roll-out reaching each corner of the State.
The regional road safety 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.
The program of works is estimated to create more than 500 direct and indirect jobs annually over its nine-year life.
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, causing a head-on crash. The annual community cost of this trauma is $900 million, while the emotional trauma cannot be measured.
Major routes initially targeted would include:
- Great Eastern Highway (Perth to Northam);
- Great Northern Highway (Muchea to Wubin);
- South Western Highway (Perth to Donnybrook); and,
- North West Coastal Highway (Karratha to Roebourne).
Modelling undertaken using roads where the same safety treatments have been introduced shows the strategy could reduce road trauma in regional WA by 60 per cent.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"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.
"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.
"The State and Federal Government have previously worked together well on the issue of road safety and I would like to see us build on that success.
"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. It is totally in line with its views on reducing road trauma on country roads nationally.
"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.
"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.
"The program of works will also provide an economic boost in regional WA, creating on-going jobs and development and training opportunities, particularly for Aboriginal people.
"Works could begin on a large scale as soon as funding is available because Main Roads has all the required vegetation clearing permits and maintenance contracts in place."
Comments attributed to Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts:
"It's a simple fact that deaths and serious injuries on regional roads significantly outnumber those on metropolitan roads.
"The vast majority of these crashes are a result of simple mistakes and single vehicle run offs.
"Accelerating these works could help prevent more than 2,100 killed or serious injury crashes over the life of the program.
"Undertaking these works as a priority will give a lasting road safety benefit."
Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Road Safety Minister's office - 6552 6900