Budget 2021-22: Federal Government expands life-saving road safety investment

The Federal Budget commits an additional $1 billion to the Road Safety Program, as part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving road safety and getting Australians home sooner sand safer.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $1 billion funding injection will back two additional six-month tranches, extending the program from June 2022 to June 2023.

“This investment builds on the previous $2 billion over 18 months announced for the Road Safety Program as part of last year’s Budget, as well as the $500 million Targeted Road Safety Works initiative announced in June 2020,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Now totalling $3 billion, the Road Safety Program continues our commitment to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, because we know one death or serious injury is one too many.

“To date, the Road Safety Program has seen almost $1 billion delivered through tranche 1 for nearly 700 road safety projects due for completion by June this year.

“This investment will see 6,000 kilometres of road upgraded and is expected to support thousands of jobs, further supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said this additional $1 billion investment would support further tranches of the program.

“The Road Safety Program is aimed at delivering lifesaving road safety upgrades on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.

“We are funding crucial upgrades to state highways and arterial roads through the application of road safety improvements including shoulder sealing and the installation of rumble strips, to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane; physical barriers to prevent run off road crashes and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions.

“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas will be better protected through road safety upgrades to include traffic calming, separated cycleways and installing raised pedestrian crossings.

“This investment complements a suite of other Australian Government initiatives such as investment in driver reviver upgrades, innovative road safety technologies and education campaigns.”

Under the Road Safety Program all states and territories receive a notional allocation of funding under a “use it or lose it” provision.

States and territories are required to use their funding within each six-month tranche in order to receive their full allocation of funding for the next tranche.

The resulting unallocated funds will be placed in a pool, with jurisdictions which spend their allocation able to seek further funds from this pool.

As a condition of funding, States and Territories are also required to provide road safety data to the Federal Government.

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