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Journeys : MNJ Aug Sep 2011
From the President Will State Budget cuts affect road safety? The R ACT will be watching ver y closely for any adverse impact on road safety, follow ing the cost-cutting State Budget handed down in June. The Government is reducing Tasmania Police numbers by 20 over this financial year because of budget cuts, and says it will ‘make all endeavours’ to keep the reduction in police numbers to fewer than 100 by 2015. The RACT believes that the reduction in the road toll last year can be par tly attr ibuted to the introduction of high-visibility police vehicles on our roads, and the RACT is concerned that this is just one area where a cutback in police numbers will affect road safety. Rather than any cutbacks, the R ACT would prefer to see more high-visibility police vehicles patrolling the roads, and greater investment in other road safety initiatives, such as automatic number plate recognition cameras and a w ider roll-out of audible tactile profiled road markings, to combat r un-off-road crashes. The RACT is also concerned that infrastructure maintenance funding will only increase marginally over the forward estimates. The budget for maintaining Tasmania’s infrastructure in 2011- 2012 is $58.9 million, increasing to $60.2 million in 2012-13 and $61.4 million in 2013-14. The forward estimate for 2014-15 is in fact a reduction to $55.6 million. Given that roads represent major infrastr ucture, the June State Budget suggests that maintenance funding is all but standing still for the next five years. The Road Safety Levy on vehicle registrations will continue from December 2012 and will increase from $20 to $25, adding $5 to motorists’ registration costs. Total roads expenditure over the financial year is $151 million, including $43.1 million in Federal funds. Major projects funded in this year’s Budget include the Brighton Transpor t Hub, completion of the Dilston Bypass on the East Tamar Highway, completion of the K ingston Bypass, the Tarkine Drive, the Community Roads Program, West Coast roads (Murchison Highway and others) and ongoing bridge maintenance. In our community There are some symbols that unite the world – the red ribbon that brought such momentum to the awareness of HIV/AIDS; and the white band against global poverty. Now these are joined by a new symbol. The Road Safety Tag represents a new global movement to improve safety on the roads. It has been adopted as the official symbol for the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which aims to reduce road deaths and injur ies in all countr ies. Leaders across the world and here at home are wear ing the yellow tag to demonstrate our support for the Decade of Action and a personal commitment to be safe on the road. Recently Har vey Lennon, our CEO and I represented the R ACT at the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety at Parliament House in Canberra. Each year worldwide, approximately 1.3 million people die due to road crashes – and up to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries. The figures are staggering and the knock-on effect on families, friends and communities is devastating. Here in Australia, each year around 1400 people lose their lives and around 32,000 people are hospitalised as a result of crashes on our roads. While those figures are unacceptable, they do ref lect a significant improvement over the past 40 years, since road deaths peaked in 1970 at just under 4000 people. While Australia has a ver y strong record of continuous road safety improvement, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for a disproportionate number of road deaths, despite the fact that vehicle ow nership is comparatively low. In Vietnam before 2007, only 3 per cent of motorcyclists used helmets. After the law was changed, 95 per cent of motorcyclists were wearing helmets and in that first twelve months the number of road deaths fell by 1400, with 2200 fewer ser ious injuries. Closer to home, I see the Decade of Action as an opportunity and a challenge for motoring clubs like the RACT to have a real part to play. They must continue to advocate on behalf of their members, motorists and other road users for a fair share of gover nments’ budgets to be used to further improve our road networks and road safety overall. We must focus on this problem and put in place measures that will make roads locally and globally safer and ultimately, save lives. Stuart Slade President and Chairman of the Board 4 August / September 2011
Jun Jul 2011
Oct Nov 2011