Every year, more than 1200 people are killed on Australian roads and this count has been increasing in recent years, not decreasing. More than half of these deaths occur in regional and remote Australia, despite two thirds of Australians living in cities. NSW research reveals nearly 70% of regional deaths are regional people.
The only acceptable road toll is zero and everyone involved in the management of the road transport system has a key role to play in ensuring our roads are safe. As the owner of 662,000 kms or nearly 75% of the nation’s roads by length, local government must shoulder its responsibilities and be a part of the solution to reduce serious harm and casualties.
However, many municipalities face considerable challenges with funding for safety infrastructure and support for capacity building, speed management and enforcement coverage. Our regional and remote councils also face the additional challenges of low population density, distance and long road networks.
Zero harm can only be achieved if resources are directed to safety improvements in rural, regional and remote Australia – where a disproportionate number of road accidents occur and also where many councils are particularly financially constrained as their own-source revenue-raising capacity is limited.
Also, many metropolitan-based initiatives are not feasible in regional settings so locally-targeted solutions are a must.
ALGA’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress – to be held in Alice Springs from the 20th to the 22nd of next month – will explore this important issue and what councils can do to step up our role in improving safety on our local roads.
You can still register on the ALGA website: https://www.conferenceco.com.au/ALGA_Roads/
I look forward to seeing you at the congress.
Mayor David O’Loughlin