New inquiry on National Road Safety Strategy begins

Independent co-chairs appointed to help improve effectiveness of existing strategy

New inquiry on National Road Safety Strategy begins
Chester says the inquiry findings will help set government policy priorities in the future.


Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester has appointed two leading industry experts to jointly chair the National Road Safety Strategy inquiry.

University of Adelaide associate professor and director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research Jeremy Woolley, and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' Trauma Committee chair Dr John Crozier will co-chair the inquiry.

Chester says both Woolley and Crozier’s knowledge and efforts will help reduce road trauma by improving the strategy.

Part of their responsibilities will be to determine future priorities for making roads safer, Chester says.

The inquiry aims to improve the effectiveness of the existing strategy amid fears of over complacency about road safety.

"I'm worried that we are too accepting of the fact 1,300 Australians will die on our roads and tens of thousands will be injured this year," Chester says.

"Road trauma has an enormous social impact and in economic terms, road injury costs our nation an estimated $30 billion per year.

"I don't accept that as a price we have to pay for a modern transport system.

"The re-evaluation of the existing strategy is about setting the national agenda for years to come.

"After decades of reductions in road trauma, we have experienced a spike in several states in recent years and it's timely to review the national strategy, in partnership with the state government and the community."

The inquiry will assess current actions and help find new ways to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the road.

"Building on our understanding of best practice in road safety management will assist policy makers, industry and our emergency services to address the challenges we face, as well as identify where we can work better together," Chester says.

"No-one is expecting a single solution to reducing road trauma and we all need to take responsibility for our actions on our nation's roads as we work towards a safer system.

The inquiry complements existing road safety investments such as the black spot program and heavy vehicle safety initiatives.

The findings of the inquiry will help in setting federal government policy priorities for the future, Chester says.

"The Australian Government has a $75 billion infrastructure investment program right across Australia that is changing lives and saving lives," he says.

"This inquiry will help to inform future road safety investment decisions.

"I will be encouraging interested stakeholders to participate in roundtables and share their experiences through a submission process in the coming months."

The inquiry is expected to finish in early 2018.

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