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Journeys : Apr May 2011
From the President In early 2011 nature was unkind to many Australians through severe f looding in Queensland and Victoria, and Cyclone Yasi. Other states of Australia, including northern Tasmania, also experienced flooding. Unfortunately lives were lost interstate along with billions of dollars in damage to houses, businesses and infrastructure. I was not surprised by the generosity of so many Australians and overseas countries in providing resources and monetary donations. Just as most Australians were coming to terms with the impact of these disasters, a far greater tragedy presented itself to the people in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following an earlier earthquake in September 2010, the second- biggest city in New Zealand was rocked during their busy lunch period on 22 February with another earthquake. This is a catastrophe that all New Zealanders, especially the Chr istchurch community, w ill never forget. There has been a massive loss of life, multiple injur ies as well as substantial damage to businesses, houses and local infrastructure. The Australian Automobile Association (A AA), to which the R ACT is affiliated, has conveyed to the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) its condolences and wishes of support. Both the AAA and the AA have strong ties that have existed over many years. New Zealand’s AA has over one million members and there are many synergies between A A and R ACT. Both automobile organisations have a high percentage of their nations’ populations as members, and we share similar core services in roadside, travel and insurance. There are also strong personal links between New Zealand and Tasmania and this is reflected in visitations to both islands. In 2010, 14,800 New Zealanders visited Tasmania, up 10% from previous year. During the same period, 13,018 Tasmanians visited New Zealand, up 12.7% from 2009. Both destinations have similar ities in aspects such as weather conditions, great bushwalking and top- quality agr iculture, aquaculture and w ine products. The people of New Zealand have a reputation of being welcoming, kind, proud and accommodating to visitors, and I feel confident that Tasmanians, including many R ACT members, will continue to visit New Zealand. On behalf of the RACT, I wish to convey our sincere condolences to New Zealanders, especially the Christchurch community. The recovery process will take years not months, but it is important that those affected are aware of our support. Stuart Slade President and Chairman of the Board The RACT responded to the Government’s call for community comment on its proposal to apply a blanket speed limit reduction on Tasmania’s ‘rural and regional roads’ (sealed roads with a current limit of 100km/h) and on unsealed roads. The following article contains extracts from our submission. Australia’s motor ing clubs believe that road safety requires a balanced approach – safer drivers, in safer cars, on safer roads. Speed is one of many factors impacting on road safety. In general, the RACT believes that better safety outcomes will flow from the option of improving road infrastructure rather than measures to apply blanket speed limit reductions. The Engineers Australia Infrastructure Report Card 2010 rated Tasmania’s national roads C+, state roads C and local roads D. This was a deterioration from the 2005 Report Card, which marked our roads as B, C and D+ respectively. We would be most concer ned if speed limit reductions were to be used as an alter native to proper and adequate expenditure on the upgrading, maintenance and replacement of infrastructure assets. It would be unacceptable to Tasmanian road users if the gover nment was contemplating reduced speed limits as a response mechanism to falling road standards. In addition, funds generated by the Road Safety Lev y – which the R ACT has supported from its inception – should not be used to augment the Gover nment’s road infrastructure works program. A larger percentage of levy funds should instead be used to intensify road safety education programs. A transparent connection between a percentage of speed detection device revenue and the road infrastructure works program should be made to ensure that adequate funding is provided for safer roads in Tasmania, as this is clearly not the case at the present time. The community expects and requires a reasonable level of mobility at an acceptable level of r isk and expects governments to provide both mobility and safety – not one at the expense of the other. RACT supports AusRAP road risk assessment methodology Before any blanket speed limit reductions on sealed roads are made, an AusRAP (Australian Road Assessment Program) risk analysis should be undertaken of the entire state road network and higher-volume local roads, and the Government must commit to responding to the safety audit with funding to fix identified safety problems on higher-r isk sections of the network. We have consistently called over many years for this evidence- based approach to identifying risky sections of road in Tasmania, and making the required investments to improve those parts of the network; however, the Gover nment has not acted. It is more logical to take a case-by-case approach on sections of the network where there may be black-spots or higher-r isk evaluations. Blanket speed limit reductions – our view In our community 4 April / May 2011
Feb March 2011
Jun Jul 2011