Good morning everyone.
Thank you for the invitation to join you for breakfast—and thank you for the warm welcome Tim (Shanahan, President Royal Automotive Club Western Australia President).
Before I begin I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and offer my respects to their elders past and present.
I would also like to acknowledge:
- Ms Freda Crucitti (National Road Safety Council, RAC Councillor)
- RAC WA Councillors
- State Members of Parliament
- Local Government Mayors and Councillors
- Mr Gary Budge (WA Assistant Commissioner of Police)
I am here this morning in my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport. In that role, I have particular responsibility for promoting and implementing the Australian Government's road safety initiatives.
It is a task I am passionately committed to and a task I take very seriously.
Your attendance here this morning is proof that you share my commitment and I thank you for coming.
In your roles as members of WA's motoring fraternity, as members of the police force, as private citizens, as leaders of industry or as government officials, I know that you acknowledge that road safety is a shared responsibility and that each and every one of us must take this responsibility seriously.
Firstly, safe roads.
The Australian Government is playing a significant role with our $36.4 billion Nation Building Program currently funding major upgrades and constructing new, safer road networks in Australia.
Of this commitment, $3.7 billion has been committed for land transport infrastructure in Western Australia.
This investment will see a significant number of projects delivered by the Australian Government on the National Network and Off Network.
So far, eight major projects have been completed and a further thirteen are underway or nearing completion.
I am sure that Michael Deegan, Infrastructure Australia's National Coordinator will have more to say about these projects when he addresses a breakfast in this series in Albany in July.
On a local level, the Australian Government is providing $256 million under the Roads to Recovery Program to Western Australian councils and shires to maintain and upgrade local roads.
And let me assure you the Australian Government has no plans to withdraw this financial support.
The administrative arrangements for the program remain simple, with councils free to choose the projects to be funded.
Western Australia will also receive $55.3 million under the Black Spot program through to 2014, with 257 projects across the state already approved and 149 of these completed.
Across the country, the Black Spot program is making a real difference by targeting those road locations where crashes are occurring.
The Black Spot Program has a proven track record of saving lives, with an evaluation showing that it prevented at least 32 fatalities and more than 1,500 serious injuries in its first three years.In addition, I understand that the WA Office of Road Safety is working with the WA Road Safety Council to identify and redesign intersections within Perth and is looking at a range of measures to improve roads in regional areas.
The next pillar of the road safety strategy is safe speeds.
I know everyone in this room recognises the link between excessive, or inappropriate, speed and death or serious injury on our roads.
Australia has relatively high speed limits across much its road network compared with the speed limits on similar roads in most developed countries.
The strategy highlights the potential to reduce crash rates by ensuring speed limits are appropriate for the road.
In many cases this means improving road infrastructure so vehicles can travel safely at the speed limit. In other cases it means reducing the speed limit to a safer level on higher-risk roads.
By 2020, we want to be confident that the speed limits across our road network provide an appropriate balance between safety and transport objectives.
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