Thursday, 10 December 2020
What would you do if you were told you had a couple of weeks left to live? You'd get your affairs in order. You'd go and say your goodbyes. You'd go and kiss your loved ones. Some people didn't get the opportunity to do that this year. During COVID, 908 people passed. My condolences to all of their families. It's terrible, ghastly, to lose a loved one, particularly if it is a child. But, unfortunately, year in, year out, when it comes to road safety, 1,200 is the number of Australians that we lose on the road. We just seem to be numb to it. It's preventable; it is absolutely preventable. We spend money on roads. Both sides of this House are united in trying to save lives on the road, particularly on our urban roads. You are 17 times more likely to die in an urban area or in a regional and remote area. It's preventable because driver distraction is now playing an increasing role in fatalities in road accidents.
Some of us would normally have travelled abroad but will choose to stay here in Australia this year and travel on Australian roads. Please, when you're planning your holiday this year, drive to the conditions. Do not be that family that creates heartache and pain—for your wives, your husbands, your parents or your children—for those that you leave behind. When you get into a motor car, the safety of everyone in that vehicle is your responsibility. When you're a cyclist on the road, you are responsible for your own behaviour. It is your responsibility when you are a pedestrian, walking on a sidewalk, to be aware of the inherent dangers. It's your responsibility when you're behind the wheel of a truck to make sure that you're consciously competent and aware of the lives around you: those who you can see and those who are in your blind spots. If we do that, we can save a few more lives this Christmas—if people make a conscious decision when they go onto the road that they want to get home to their loved ones. Too many Australians—1,200 Australians—lose their lives annually. It's preventable. This pain shouldn't have to be felt by families and shouldn't have to be felt by our communities. Please, do the right thing this year: don't drive while you're drunk, put your seatbelts on and look out for driver fatigue. Get home safely to your parents and have a merry Christmas.