Roads | March 15, 2024

Kealy demands reversal of road safety cuts as road fatalities hit a 15-year high

The Nationals have raised the escalating road safety crisis in the Victorian Parliament, calling for an immediate reversal to the road safety funding cuts imposed by the Labor Government to address the increasing death toll on Victorian roads.

As of 12 December 2023, 299 lives were lost on Victoria's roads, a 24 per cent increase from the previous year and the highest death toll in 15 years.

Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said significantly, 174 of these tragic incidents occurred on regional roads, sadly providing even more evidence of the disproportionate risk being faced by regional and rural communities.

“The Victorian Government has cut the road maintenance budget by 45 per cent since 2020 and are directly responsible for the deteriorating road conditions we are seeing across the state,” she said.

"The result of these cuts is glaringly evident, with increasingly unsafe road surfaces, potholes, steep drop-offs and general substandard road repairs posing a risk to every Victorian driver every day.

"I am also aware of several incidents where people have sustained significant vehicle damage, but the cost of repairs has been below the $1580 threshold for damage claims, leaving these people with a $1000 or more repair bill and no reimbursement available.

“With the current cost of living crisis in Victoria, these people are being forced to bear the financial burden of the repair cost, when many are already struggling financially to meet the basis daily needs of their families.

"People who experience vehicle damage due to the condition of the roads, which is no fault of their own, should all be compensated regardless of the cost of the damage."

Ms Kealy said that in the past two years, the Labor government had also cut a staggering $230 million from road safety programs, including a $150 million reduction in the TAC-funded safer system roads and infrastructure program and an $81 million shortfall in the TAC marketing and road safety budget.

"It is clear that we are facing a critical safety crisis on our roads, and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that immediate action is necessary to reverse this distressing trend," she said.

"The lives of our community members are at stake.

“Labor can’t manage money and Victorians are paying the price by being forced to drive on unsafe roads and having to dip into their own pockets to pay for the vehicle damage that these roads are causing.”

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