Federal inquiry calls for star rating system for all roads

Publishing star ratings for all roads would enhance accountability around road safety targets, a federal parliamentary inquiry has found.

The final report of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety also suggests that Commonwealth funding for road safety and road infrastructure projects be conditional on the provision of data on road safety outcomes.

“Where practicable, this should include the provision of data on the star rating of the relevant road,” it says.

Submissions to the inquiry from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and other state local government associations highlighted mismatches between asset responsibility and revenue.

The committee’s report said that improving road safety in regional, rural, and remote areas will require that adequate funding be made available to local government, particularly as local government is responsible for the majority of Australia’s road network.

“The committee is concerned that the funding allocated to local government is insufficient given the size of the road network for which local government is responsible.”

It recommended the Commonwealth work with state and territory governments to review and investigate ways of improving funding arrangements for infrastructure and road safety programs, with a focus on:

  • allocating additional funding to local government, balancing autonomy for local government with oversight of road safety outcomes;
  • providing longer-term, sustainable funding to road safety projects to enable more effective project and workforce planning;
  • identifying priority areas for targeted investment, based on factors such as predicted crash risk;
  • increasing the amount of funding dedicated to safety improvements on and around regional, rural, and remote roads;
  • establishing categories of funding dedicated to specific types of road safety improvements, with a focus on safety for vulnerable road users; and
  • prioritising safety for all road users without unduly limiting the funding available for critical infrastructure upgrades.

In all, the 378-page report makes 61 recommendations.