Supporting local governments moving towards zero

Reducing road trauma on locally controlled thoroughfares was the focus of a Road Safety Stakeholder Roundtable in Brisbane today.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the roundtable reinforced calls for greater support for local governments.

“Most Australians travel on local roads and today’s roundtable provided an opportunity to focus supporting local governments to ensure Australians get home sooner and safer,” Mr McCormack said.

“We have listened to the calls from local government for more support, most recently at the Australian Local Government Association’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf, South Australia last month.

“The recent Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy and the Review of National Road Safety Governance showed some local councils are struggling with road safety.

“Smaller councils often struggle to ensure they have the capability or access to expertise to improve road infrastructure for safer local roads.

“There are some success stories, such as the Government’s Roads to Recovery program – a proven partnership between local government and the Australian Government to support safety upgrades and crucial maintenance work – but there is more to be done and we will work together to address the challenges.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has developed a number of dashboards for accessing road safety data, one of which compares local government areas by the number of years they have experienced zero road crash deaths www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/safety.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz was also at the Road Safety Stakeholder Roundtable and said the Australian Government is committed to working as a partner with local government.

“It is clear that the current National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plans can be improved to include greater engagement with local government,” Mr Buchholz said. “The Deputy Prime Minister, the Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety Llew O’Brien and I have all clearly heard today about how that can be done.

“The Governance Review noted local governments are under-engaged in road safety but, given the scale of the road safety challenge, there are obstacles to improving that situation.

“Ongoing and genuine collaboration on road safety between all levels of government will be the key in achieving a step change. Road safety is a shared responsibility and the Office of Road Safety has been established to provide opportunities for different parties to connect and work together.

“The next National Road Safety Strategy is an opportunity and we need local governments to take a central role to achieve a step change in reducing road trauma and Move Towards Zero.”