7 July 2023

Driving home safety measures: State's $41m boost to curb regional road fatalities

| Claire Sams
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Seven people standing near road

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison (fourth from left) in Goulburn to announce that more than 30 projects will share in a $41 million State Government investment in regional road safety. Photo: Jenny Aitchison MP/Facebook.

The roads can be a dangerous place, but millions in state funding is looking to help people get home alive and well.

The Minns Government has announced $41 million in road safety funding in the first round of Towards Zero – Safer Roads program.

Speaking at the announcement on Thursday (6 July), Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said 2023 had been a horror year on NSW roads.

“This year, we’ve lost nearly one life per day on our roads – it is a terrible, terrible toll,” she said.

“I get text messages every day about those fatalities and it is very sobering.”

The funding will be shared between 38 named projects, with nearly $1.9m set aside for planning and other minor works.

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The projects include a range of works to address road safety and infrastructure concerns across regional NSW, such as road shoulder widening, widened centre lanes and safety barrier installations.

Ms Aitchison was joined by Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman for the announcement in Goulburn.

Ms Tuckerman said she hoped the projects would prevent road fatalities.

“Any announcement of any funding is most welcome in regards to safety on our roads [and] for our road users,” she said.

“As the Minister suggested, we have too high a rate in regard to fatalities on the road.

“This sort of funding is so welcome – because if that’s going to reduce those fatalities, that’s what we want to see.”

The Government has chosen projects based on recommendations from a Centre for Road Safety expert committee.

“It really is about spreading it out [across the state],” Ms Aitchison said.

“This funding is available through the Centre for Road Safety, so the money that comes in from enforcement is actually used to fund safety measures for our roads.

“We’re ensuring that what gets collected from drivers doing the wrong thing on the road stays on the road, but it will be across all our regional areas.”

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The local government areas of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Bega Valley Shire Council, Snowy Monaro Regional Council, Snowy Valleys Council, Goulburn Mulwaree Regional Council and Eurobodalla Shire Council all have projects listed.

“While we only have a third of our population living in the regions, about 70 per cent of our crashes, our fatalities and serious injuries are occurring in our regional areas,” Ms Aitchison said.

“It’s really important to get that down.

“We’re trying to get the message to every driver: you have to slow down, you have to pay attention on the road, don’t use your mobile and don’t drink or drunk-drive.”

Ms Aitchison said the update or installation works would be key to bringing down the state’s road fatality toll.

“It’s vitally important that widening centre lanes, for example, can reduce fatalities by about 50 per cent.

“It gives some drivers time [to act] if they do make an error in driving.”

Future funding rounds may be open to submissions from councils, she said.

A full list of the projects is available online.

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