Martin Aldridge MLC is calling on the State Government to address the “Elephant in the Wheatbelt” and stop lives being lost on regional roads.
A horror weekend on WA roads has prompted Nationals WA MP Martin Aldridge to call for an urgent review of the State Government’s road safety activities.
Mr Aldridge accused the State Government of sitting idly on more than $140 million of road safety funding while regional motorists were losing their lives.
“Recent Treasury data shows some $141 million sitting idle in the Road Trauma Trust Account,” Mr Aldridge said.
“It should not be considered acceptable to any person in WA that funds specifically set aside for road safety initiatives are being accrued whilst road deaths and serious injuries take their toll.”
Mr Aldridge said he has previously lobbied the Minister for Road Safety to develop a response for the appalling road safety record of regional WA.
“Road safety statistics show you are 11 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle in the Wheatbelt than you are in Perth,” he said.
“It’s utterly tragic, and the ultimate tragedy is that lives continue to be lost while the State Government sits on its millions.”
The Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) was established more than 25 years ago to fund road safety activities in Western Australia. The RTTA receives much of its funding from the proceeds of speeding offences and red light infringements.
Mr Aldridge called on the State Government to partner with the RAC to use the RTTA and Royalties for Regions funding to immediately develop a new strategy to stop lives being lost on country roads.
“We need to target education initiatives, road safety improvements, increased enforcement and work with regional communities to tackle this growing problem,” he said.
“The vast majority of lives lost in road trauma accidents occur on country roads. Allowing important funding from the RTTA to go unused is no longer an option. All levels of Government and communities must work together to prevent the loss of lives on our roads.”
Mr Aldridge said he recognised that the solution to WA’s road safety record does not rest solely with the State Government, and called on regional motorists to be ever vigilant when driving, especially on busy weekends.
“More often than not, these incidents are a result of bad driver behaviour, with fatigue, speed, drink driving and reckless driving playing a role in many accidents.
“As governments we can repair roads, educate drivers and urge people to buy safer cars, but unless we realise that we as individuals have a significant responsibility too, the death toll will remain high.”