Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Jaala Pulford has come under attack during the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings today after the Andrews Government cut a number of road safety measures in the recent State Budget.
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 71% in 2019.
The State Budget details that the Andrews Government 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 regional road maintenance for Victoria’s major local roads including non-arterial state roads, minor roads and local regional roads;
· Reduced the benchmark standards for regional roads to meet cracking standards, which leads to potholes and poor road quality;
· Cut $47.2 million from the existing Road Safety Strategy 2013-2022 over the past year;
· Delayed improvements works on major arterial roads, such as Great Alpine Road, Hyland Highway Road and the South Gippsland Highway by a further year; and
· 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.
The cuts to funding and programs for road safety come at the same time revenue from speed cameras is expected to increase from $390 million per year in 2018-19 to $529 million per year by 2022-23 and $2.9 billion will be raided from the TAC in dividends.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Roma Britnell:
“When we have a growing road toll it beggars belief that the Andrews Labor Government continues to cut services and funding that contradicts the efforts of Victoria’s Towards Zero campaign.”
“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.”