Road use, like all human activity, involves risk. In Casey and Cardinia, road fatalities have been on an alarming rise in the past several years, and since 2016 almost 60 people have passed away. The risk of injury or death on the road cannot be eliminated other than by ending road use. That said, we know the risk can be managed.
The Andrews Labor Government’s approach to road safety involves the cutting of speed limits. This is an approach I reject. The key to managing risk on our roads is better drivers, better vehicles and better roads.
Labor has been in government for 17 of the past 20 years. They have overseen the deterioration of roads in that time and they continue to cut the budget and have a lax approach to road safety. All we see from Labor is band-aid actions, like reducing the speed limit, instead of focussing on addressing the environmental aspects that play a large part in road trauma; road design, and active road management.
Labor’s approach to date has borne some awful results. Take Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road for example. 34-year-old Tess Clark and her unborn son, Asher were tragically killed in a horror head-on crash on 4th February, while Tess and husband Shane’s two young sons, Archer and Hunter, were injured but are thankfully now ok. A few days later, a scooter rider – Don, who was a 60-year old father of two and grandfather of five – was left for dead after a hit and run incident. Sadly, Don passed away soon after.
In early 2016, the Andrews Labor Government was aware of the safety concerns held by residents on this road. It then two took years for a grand announcement that the road would be upgraded ‘soon’. Yet now, five years on, not a single contract has been signed or a sod turned. By current estimations, the road will not be upgraded until 2025 at the earliest. In the last five years, several accidents have occurred and lives lost due to road conditions, just on this road alone. The only change that had been during the same period is a reduction in the speed limit.
Labor is quick to spruik about funding road upgrades, but are Victorians actually seeing any real improvement? Rather than using funding for expensive billboards and grandiose project announcements, the Andrews Labor Government should be focusing on actually fixing roads, and fixing them properly.
Victorian motorists are sick of the waste, mismanagement, and a lack of plan from the Andrews Labor Government. They are sick of risking their lives going about everyday tasks, like driving to work or taking the kids to school.
Reducing speed limits or installing wire rope barriers is not addressing the core problem – the shocking and dangerous condition of road surfaces.
The Andrews Labor Government is ripping $1.5 billion out of the TAC over the next four years, which is money that should be used to make our roads safer. Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government must immediately reinstate this money, or he will have to wear the consequences of his decision.
It’s time to get back to basics and build and repair roads properly the first time.
Brad Battin MP