Monday, 11 September 2023
Private Members' Business
Black Spot Program
I am very pleased to be able to speak on the importance of the black spot road safety program, which has been delivering funding continuously for nearly 30 years to reduce the risk of road crashes. It's one of the many funding programs by the federal government that recognises that few councils have the resources on their own to keep their roads maintained or improved.
In the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury there are more than 2,000 kilometres of roads to look after. And, of course, those roads have been smashed in recent years by fire, heavy rains, storms and floods. So the Commonwealth investment in these local government areas goes well beyond black spot funding. There has been hundreds of billions of dollars of roads repairs required across Macquarie. They are still underway. That is funded by the joint federal New South Wales disaster funding arrangements.
But, beyond that, significant programs have been brought in to improve roads. For instance, under phase 4 of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, councils like Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury received allocations of $869,000 in the mountains and just over $1 million in the Hawkesbury. However, the Albanese government recognised there were extra needs for regions like ours, and an additional half a million dollars was allocated to Blue Mountains and an additional $627,000 was added to Hawkesbury. That's substantial additional funding, recognising what our community has been through. The Hawkesbury Council is finalising the list of roads that it will rehabilitate or seal, thanks to my 2022 election commitment of $11.2 million in road funding. The Blue Mountains commitment was $12.5 million, and I look forward to the announcements on the long list of roads that will be improved thanks to that allocation.
These things are on top of the very key Black Spot Program, which is providing $110 million a year to fund measures right across the country improving road safety and saving lives. We know that projects delivered through black spot funding reduce serious crashes by an average of 30 per cent. Nominations are considered each year by the relevant state or territory black spot consultative panel, which is made up of representatives from community, road user groups, industry, Australian and local government, and state road and transport agencies. The panels provide the opportunity for stakeholders to have a say in the project selection process, ensuring that nominations of the highest priority and importance to the local community are recommended. As those opposite are aware, sites can be nominated by councils, the state road authorities, individuals and community organisations. Anyone can jump on and nominate a road for black spot funding. Last year's black spot funding included several key improvements for my community, with $820,000 for two sections of Old Bathurst Road in Blaxland and $1.1 million for St Albans Road. Both of these will save lives.