Page 3848 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
The Canberra Liberals also call on the government to improve the safety of roads by upgrading and increasing capacity on certain stretches. Of course, roads such as Athllon Drive between Kambah and Wanniassa, and Horse Park, William Hovell, William Slim and Gundaroo drives, are all worthy candidates for duplication. I believe that the delivery of road infrastructure is a core service for a local government, and improvements to these roads in Gungahlin would be a welcome addition. However, given the government’s track record, especially with regard to the GDE, I do not hold out much hope.
Madam Deputy Speaker, in conclusion, I am delighted to have been given an opportunity to raise this matter of public importance today. I believe it is a subject of concern to hundreds of thousands of Canberrans and something I hope the government, through the Assembly, can improve upon.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (4.00): We are delighted that Mr Coe was given the opportunity to talk about this matter of public importance, and even more delighted that he did not take his full allocation of time.
The government is in full agreement that continuous efforts to improve road safety and reduce road trauma are a very important responsibility. It is one we take very seriously. I am also fully aware of the importance of road safety to our community. It is a regular theme on Chief Minister’s talkback, and I do respond, and I know the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services responds, to a lot of correspondence about road issues.
During the course of yesterday’s motions from Ms Lawder about Trinity Christian School and Mrs Jones around Hinder and Hibberson streets in Gungahlin, the government was able to remind the Assembly about the extensive work already happening in the road safety arena. Infrastructure improvements, policing and better driver behaviour are all vital elements in improving our road safety record. And I would echo the comments by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Barr, yesterday that every road user has a safety responsibility on our roads to themselves, their passengers and other road users.
One telling statistic in the ACT is that rear-end collisions represent approximately 45 per cent of all crashes in the ACT and are highly implicated in CTP claims—proof enough that there is a vital role for improving driver behaviour in order to lower crash rates, and the injuries and economic costs that they bring.
Road safety is a challenge for governments around the world. Indeed, the combined cost of fatal road accidents is sobering reading—1.3 million people killed annually on the world’s roads and up to 50 million injured. While many of these deaths and injuries occur in developing countries, they are also a challenge in the developed world.