At today’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing, the disgraceful record of the Andrews Labor Government on road safety and policing has been exposed. The latest road toll statistics show 147 lives have been tragically lost in 2019, up 54.7% on 2018. In regional and rural Victoria, the road toll has increased 78% compared to the same time last year.
Despite the critical role visible, proactive policing on Victoria’s roads plays in reducing road trauma and keeping Victorians safe, the recent State Budget has:
· Cut the number of alcohol screening tests conducted by 400,000 tests;
· Failed to increase the number of drug tests conducted, despite evidence which suggests that drugs are a large contributor to the road toll;
· Cut $47.2 million from the existing Road Safety Strategy 2013-2022 over the past year;
· Proposed to discontinue reporting on the measure of “drivers tested who comply with alcohol limits”, which reduces the transparency of the success or otherwise of Victoria’s alcohol and drug testing.
These cuts in this year’s budget follow recent reports indicating police officers are being pulled from crime-prevention units to patrol Victoria’s roads in a desperate effort to prop-up highway patrol numbers.
This stopgap measure comes as the latest Police numbers by location data has confirmed a reduction in divisional highway patrol police across a number of policing regions under Daniel Andrews.
With Victoria’s road toll running at the highest rate in many years, Daniel Andrews must act urgently to support Victoria Police’s efforts to keep all Victorians safe on our roads.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police, David Southwick:
“Daniel Andrews has left Victoria Police fending for themselves on road safety.”
“Daniel Andrews likes to say “this saves lives” but the actions of his government to cut services and funding is actually putting further Victorian lives at risk when our road toll is already so high.”