Review of the impacts of road trauma
02 December 2014
At the last election, the Australian Government committed to have the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) undertake a review of road trauma, the findings of which have been released today.
The review shows that road trauma costs the nation an estimated $27 billion per year. This is equivalent to 18 per cent of total health expenditure and 1.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
The BITRE review has evaluated both domestic and international road safety solutions, and identified road investment as key to continuing the current downward trend in fatalities.
These findings highlight that the Australian Government's record $50 billion investment in infrastructure will not only drive economic growth, but will significantly improve road safety.
Each of our major infrastructure investments will help save lives and reduce road trauma, not only on major highways, but also on nearby local roads.
In addition to the construction of major roads, the Australian Government's National Highway Upgrade Programme, worth $229 million, will improve Australia's key national highway networks by funding the types of minor works recommended by today's report on road trauma.
We have also provided an additional $550 million to the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot Programmes, bringing the total funding for both programmes to $2.6 billion over five years.
The outcomes of the BITRE review have also informed a major review of the National Road Safety Strategy and development of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–2017.
In Australia significant progress has been made towards the target of a 30 per cent reduction in casualties by 2020. National fatality numbers are now 17.4 per cent lower, putting Australia well on track to achieving its reduction target.
While road deaths have trended down, BITRE's analysis confirms that these gains have not flowed equally to all road users with motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, older drivers and remote communities over represented in the road toll.
I would like to thank BITRE for their efforts and the various stakeholder groups working to improve road safety in Australia. The report is available online at www.bitre.gov.au.