House debates

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Road Safety Program

2:15 pm

Photo of Anne WebsterAnne Webster (Mallee, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister please inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government is driving Australia's economic recovery and creating jobs through the rollout of our $2 billion Road Safety Program?

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Mallee for her question and acknowledge her role in advocating for road safety in her electorate in regional Victoria. Peter Brewer in The Canberra Times wrote this today:

Drivers were drug-affected, alcohol-affected and speeding right through last year's pandemic in the ACT, despite more police out patrolling Canberra's roads.

That's awful. There was a dreadful accident 15 kilometres north of Wagga Wagga yesterday morning just before five on the Coolamon Road. New South Wales Ambulance inspector Eamonn Purcell, a local, had this to say: 'It is a testament to technology and the design of cars these days that the injuries we're seeing in these types of incidents are quite less severe than we're used to.' This was a tragedy. A gentleman died. Two others were severely injured, but at least with the modern vehicle they were in they were protected.

We have more police on our roads. We have better vehicles, and we are certainly investing in better roads. Investing in better roads saves lives. Improving road safety is a key priority of our government, our parliament. Our $110 billion investment in infrastructure is creating 100,000 jobs, and I was certainly very pleased that today, with the assistant minister for road safety, the member for Wright, the first Victorian project under tranche 1 of the Commonwealth's $2 billion Road Safety Program was announced: $183 million dollars of Australian government funding has been approved for road safety improvements, such as road shoulder sealing, rumble strips, safety barriers and intersection upgrades, across Victoria.

I spoke to the shadow minister, the member for Ballarat, about the funding in her electorate last night. There will be work undertaken to improve the safety for vulnerable road users—the member for Melbourne will be very interested to know—such as separating cyclists and pedestrians from vehicle traffic. In the member's electorate of Mallee, we're starting work on shoulder sealing and rumble strips for the Ballarat-Maryborough Road, the Wimmera Highway and the Sunraysia Highway, roads that are important linkage points for so much of the activity in Mallee. Brian Barry, the Manangatang Victorian Farmers Federation president, said: 'One of the roads being upgraded in Mallee, the road between Sea Lake and Manangatang, has received minimal work since being constructed in 1967. This road is vital for local communities, providing a major freight link during harvest. The federal government providing funding to improve safety for all users, with the sealing of shoulders, means safer trips for residents who rely on this road.' Our funding is under a use-it-or-lose-it basis, meaning these projects need to start and finish before 30 June this year. If that doesn't happen, it will be allocated to another state. It's about getting on with the job, saving lives and creating jobs.