Christmas road safety message

This year’s holiday season will bring joy to those who get the chance to catch up with families and friends for the first time in months.

For many this will mean packing up the car and driving as state and territory border closures ease. So at this time of the year my thoughts turn automatically to what more can be done to ensure busier roads doesn’t mean riskier roads.

In fact, as Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, this is something I think about all year round and something the Morrison Government is investing in.

As part of our ambition to achieve Vision Zero – that is no deaths or serious injuries occurring on Australian roads by 2050 – our Government continues to step up its road safety commitments.

Earlier this year we committed a further $1 billion to the Road Safety Program, taking our total investment to $3 billion. As well as an additional $500 million investment through the Targeted Road Safety Works initiative which we announced in June of last year.

The Road Safety Program will continue to make an impact over the next few years, delivering lifesaving road safety treatments on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users.

State highways and arterial roads will continue to receive safety treatments including shoulder sealing and rumble strip installation to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane. As well as physical barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes, and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions. 

Vulnerable road users, like cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas will also see greater protections thanks to safety upgrades including traffic calming, separated cycle-ways, and raised pedestrian crossings.

We’ve also got more than 500 projects already delivered or well underway across the nation thanks to the Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programs, while over 400 projects have been completed under the Black Spot Program in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years alone.

Among our heavy vehicle programs, in September I announced funding for 28 road safety projects through Round 6 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) with total funding of almost $5.5 million.

This round of funding is backing new education, research, training and technology initiatives that aim to deliver improved safety outcomes, including education programs for younger drivers on how to share the road with heavy vehicles.

Our Office of Road Safety continues to provide national leadership to improve road safety outcomes. The Office has been working closely with states, territories, the Australian Local Government Association and industry to develop the new 2021–30 National Road Safety Strategy.

We are also delivering critical initiatives like the $8 million Driver Reviver Site Upgrades program to tackle driver fatigue – a particular problem on longer trips which are common at this time of year – making it easier for drivers to stop, revive and reach their destination safely.

These holidays, the most important thing is everyone arriving and returning safely at the end of each trip.

Whether it’s a short trip to the local beach, an interstate roady to one of our sunny coasts, or one of our truckies pulling a long haul to deliver last-minute presents or fresh produce for Christmas lunches, each trip matters and every one of us deserves to make it back to our families safe and sound.

The Australian Government is working with others to improve the safety of our roads, backed with significant funding. Of course, road users share a responsibility to drive safely. So this Christmas have fun but take care. Remember, when you get behind the wheel – it is your responsibility to be safe and take care of those around you.