Liberal leader Zak Kirkup has announced a Liberal Government will invest $900 million on a Regional Roads Safety Program which will be completed in four years, focusing on saving lives, creating jobs and supporting regional communities.
“This important project is designed to bring WA’s regional roads up to standard and is critical to reducing the horrific road toll on our country roads each year,” said Mr Kirkup, who announced the plan in Albany today.
“Only half of this crucial program has been started by the Labor Government. The Liberals will fast-track the program to ensure the remaining $445 million in upgrades to improve more than 17,000km of regional roads will be completed.
“In the five years from 2015 to 2019, more than 3200 people were killed or seriously injured in regional WA.
“In 2019 alone, 676 people either lost their lives or had their lives changed as a result of an accident on our regional road network.
“We should not still be reporting such high numbers of deaths and injuries in the 21st century, which is why the Liberals will commit to prioritising this program to improve safety and create jobs as part of our plan for a safer, smarter today for a better, brighter tomorrow.”
Mr Kirkup said that according to the RAC, if the Liberals’ $900 million Regional Roads Safety Program was completed in four years instead of the estimated nine years, the upgraded road network would reduce regional road trauma by 60 per cent, potentially saving more than 2100 people from being killed or injured.
“The project will also create 4500 jobs, boosting regional employment and training opportunities, which will help the Liberals in our plan to create 200,000 new jobs to support West Australians with secure and full-time work,” Mr Kirkup said.
“This is the number of jobs the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Treasury data says we need for WA businesses and our economy to fully recover.”
Shadow Transport Minister Libby Mettam said the Liberals would also commit $40 million towards building overtaking lanes and $20 million to improve roadside amenities for truck drivers.
“We know that installing overtaking lanes can significantly reduce crashes, particularly on high-volume regional roads such as Albany Highway, the Great Eastern Highway and the South West and South Coast Highways,” Ms Mettam said.
“This initiative will help relieve pressure on busy regional highways, improve traffic flow and ensure both locals and holidaymakers arrive at their destination safely.”
Ms Mettam said the Liberals’ commitment to building more truck stops with proper toilet, shower and rest facilities was important in addressing the incidence of fatigue as a major factor in road accidents.
“In a state the size of WA, freight trucks are vital for our economy and ensuring drivers have proper rest facilities, with the means to be able to communicate home from often very isolated areas, is imperative for both their physical and mental well-being, along with the safety of all road users,” Ms Mettam said.
The Liberals will also allocate $1 million to examine future investment opportunities for developing transport intermodal and innovation Hubs at Muchea, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie.
“There is increasing recognition of the need for an integrated freight network throughout WA to make sure we aren’t duplicating key infrastructure while also supporting new technologies,” Ms Mettam said.
“We will commit to making sure any intermodal terminals create optimal connectivity between our existing road, rail and port facilities both now and into the future.”