Stronger road safety focus for R2R projects


New reporting requirements outlined for Roads to Recovery program

Stronger road safety focus for R2R projects
The federal government will increase the total R2R program funding to $400 million a year starting 2019-2020.

 

Councils are being urged to focus on improving road safety outcomes when undertaking local road upgrades.

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester says local councils using funds from the Roads to Recovery (R2R) Program should consider the potential road safety benefits when selecting projects.

The statement came during the launch of the inaugural R2R Statement of Expectations, in association with the Australian Local Government Association, in Western Australia this week.

"When selecting projects, I am strongly urging councils to consider the likelihood they will reduce fatalities and serious injuries," Chester says.

"The Australian Government's ongoing funding commitment will ensure local councils are better able to decide what local roads are a priority and how money should be spent.

"Obtaining detailed information on project outcomes is critical to ensuring the Australian Government is delivering the most robust road upgrade projects to demonstrably reduce the number of serious crashes across the Australian road network.

"To that end the new R2R Statement of Expectations will require council input on the benefits their completed projects have provided as a condition of funding in future years."

Chester says the federal government has committed to increase the total funding available to councils across Australia from $350 million to $400 million a year starting 2019-2020 to ensure the success of the project.

"I look forward to continuing the successful relationship between the Australian Government and local councils through the Roads to Recovery program," he says.

"By working together, we can make a difference to improve road safety."

Chester’s position was backed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) with the challenges for councils and their need for additional funds also highlighted.

"Minister Chester’s initiative of linking future funding under the Roads to Recovery program to the safety benefits derived from local road upgrades will require councils to provide more detailed project outcome reports," ALGA president David O'Loughlin says.

"The reports will require a particular focus on identifying the safety improvements each council has been able to deliver using their annual R2R grant.   

"However, improved safety outcomes will add ballast to arguments for increased R2R funding. And with Minister Chester appealing for renewed efforts to cut the road toll, we hope he gives fresh consideration to ALGA’s call for Black Spot Program funding to be doubled and made permanent."

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