Keep safe on our roads these holidays

Australians are urged to keep safe while travelling this Christmas – a time when our roads can prove deadly.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said although the border to New South Wales was closed, many would still be travelling this holiday period.

“Over the past five years, an average of 40 people have died on our roads during the 12-day Christmas period,” Mr McCormack said.

“These aren’t just numbers but people who have left behind families and loved ones and our thoughts are with all of them this holiday period.

“Following the difficult year felt right around Australia, these holidays present many of us with the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and recharge for the year ahead so it’s important we all do everything we can to make it a safe holiday period for all.

“Road safety is always important, but particularly over this holiday period. It has been a tough enough year and I urge everyone on our roads to think about their safety and the safety of others.

“One death on our roads is one too many, which is why we must all drive to the conditions, ensure everyone is buckled up, take regular breaks and not engage in risky road use – so we can all get to our holiday destinations and back home safely.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said while road safety is a shared responsibility, the Australian Government is prioritising road safety and has taken significant steps throughout the year to improve road safety for all Australians, including providing billions in funding for road safety works.

“As a former truck driver, I know the risks on our roads – this Government’s $2 billion Road Safety Program will apply lifesaving measures, predominantly to rural and regional roads, as well as protecting vulnerable road users,” Mr Buchholz said. 

“It will raise road safety standards across high risk roads and is expected to reduce casualty rates on upgraded rural and regional roads.

“Alongside all levels of government, we are working towards a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2050 and the new National Road Safety Strategy for the decade 2021-30 we are developing will set the framework for this.

“To support the new strategy and ensure our efforts are backed up by solid evidence, we are also investing $5.5 million in a National Road Safety Data Hub.”

Pat Conaghan, who chaired the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, said as a former police officer, he knew the devastation road accidents caused and the importance of addressing road safety at all levels.

“While this is a time of the year full of merriment and joy, it is important this cheerfulness does not translate into risk-taking on our roads, particularly driving under the influence of alcohol or while fatigued,” Mr Conaghan said.

“With the festive season getting into full swing, the Government calls on all Australians to plan ahead for safe ways home from functions and gatherings.”

More information on Australian Government road safety initiatives is available at www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au.

Media Contact:

Deputy Prime Minister – Joanne Williamson 0418 475 668

Assistant Minister Buchholz – Josh Christian 0439 897 926

Mr Conaghan – Peter Daniels 0492 962 710