Car and bike crash on Southport-Nerang Rd.
Car and bike crash on Southport-Nerang Rd.

Billions pledged to fix our worst black spots

A MULTIBILLION-dollar road toll Budget blast will be funnelled to councils to fix the roads, bridges and black spots killing four Queenslanders every week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday draw a line under Australia's sickening road toll by unveiling $2.2 billion in road safety funding to be split across the country.

The announcement points to a theme in this year's election-fighting Budget - keeping Australians safe and getting them home sooner to be with family.

There were 1143 road toll victims across the country in 2018 - including 244 in Queensland, Australia's most populated, decentralised state. And in Queensland last year, 29 people died from crashes involving semi-trailers.

Councils will be directly given $1.1 billion under the Roads to Recovery Program, which will fixes potholes, curbing and better lighting.

Queensland will get $102 million under that scheme.

A serious crash on Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley. Picture: Marc Robertson
A serious crash on Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley. Picture: Marc Robertson

Councils will also be able to apply for money for extra safety measures, including;

* $550 million for black spots to improve safety at accident sites. The Black Spot Program, which targets high-risk locations, has on average reduced serious crashed by about one-third.

* $571 million to provide more rest areas and truck stops for heavy vehicles; and to fixing wooden bridges, making sure school buses and emergency vehicles can get across them.

Mr Morrison said the grassroots funding was about keeping loved ones together.

"Keeping Australians safe is my Government's number one priority,'' Mr Morrison said.

"The truth is fatal road accidents are far too common.

"More than a thousand Australians died on our roads last year. That's devastating.

"These are mums who didn't make it home from work, or children that didn't make it to school.

"These programs mean local councils decide where the money should be spent. They are in the best position to identify black spots and problem areas.

"This is why a strong economy is so important. It allows us to invest in safer roads that save lives."

The funding also helps answer the call of road safety stakeholders which released a report last month labelling Australia's road toll "a national crisis".

Queensland's road deaths by calendar year.
Queensland's road deaths by calendar year.

The national peak group the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), funded by RACQ, NRMA and RACV, revealed Australia would need to do more to reduce the road toll by 30 per cent by December next year - or to limit annual deaths to 998.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said a new Office of Road Safety would be established, which was a recommendation of the independent inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy.

"The Office of Road Safety will provide a national point for collaboration and leadership on key road safety priorities, working closely with states, territories, local government, and key road safety stakeholders," Mr McCormack said.

"Safer roads save lives. They also create jobs in construction and boost productivity.

"The Liberals and Nationals are building safer roads and bridges. This means safer heavy vehicle operations, which is critical to our goal of reducing road trauma on the nation's roads.

"We must push ahead with practical measures and infrastructure funding to drive road deaths towards zero."

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said road widening, new overtaking lanes and intersection improvements were important steps the Government could invest in to make roads safer.

The Government is also trying to progress the 12 recommendations made by the National Road Safety Strategy inquiry; including having a Cabinet Minister with specific responsibility for road trauma and impact on the health system; a $3 billion annual road safety fund and rapid deployment and accelerated uptake of vehicle safety technology.

 

QUEENSLAND'S WORLD BLACK SPOTS

 

Queensland's worst black spots will receive extra funding from PM Scott Morrison.
Queensland's worst black spots will receive extra funding from PM Scott Morrison.