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Motion - Inquiry into Road Safety in Tasmania

Tuesday 29 June 2021, Motion


Select Committee on Road Safety

[11.40 a.m.] Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Madam Deputy President, I move - That a select committee be appointed, with power to send for persons and papers, with leave to sit during any adjournment of the Council, and with leave to adjourn from place to place, to inquire into and report upon ways in which to improve road safety in Tasmania. And that - Ms Palmer; Ms Rattray; Dr Seidel; and The Mover be of the Committee.

I move this motion with regard to road safety as around 1200 people are killed each year on our roads and almost 40 000 are seriously injured. The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 targeted a 30 per cent reduction of fatalities and serious crashes in all jurisdictions.

In Tasmania the rate of fatalities and serious crashes went up. On average, 300 people are killed or seriously injured on Tasmanian roads each year. Last year Tasmania failed to meet its National Road Safety Strategy target. In 2011, 24 people lost their lives on our roads while there were 272 serious crashes. In 2020, a year when we had COVID - when you would think there would be less cars on our roads - 36 people died and 283 were seriously injured.

Between 2011 and 2020, on average 32 people died and 269 were seriously injured each year on our roads. Tasmania has the worst road safety record of any state. With 6.6 deaths per 100 000 population, this is far higher than the best performing state, Victoria, which has 3.17 deaths per 100 000 people. If we can match Victoria we could save 19 lives a year. It is really hard to image that with driving in Victoria compared to driving in Tasmania we have double the deaths Victoria has. It is quite mind-blowing.

During that time technology and infrastructure have all improved, driver training and licensing was improved and police were given better, more targeted enforcement options, so what do we need to do to change the trend? There are no silver bullets or easy answers However, we do need to have a deeper understanding of what is behind the figures and input is needed from a broad cross-section of the community - academics, motoring groups, police representatives, civil constructive representatives and the list goes on - which an inquiry would be able to do.

I believe an inquiry would enable a closer look at this issue and provide sound evidence based and data-driven recommendations to help the Government tackle this issue. Even though public consultation on the new National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 is closed, it is believed we still may have an opportunity to influence it with data-driven evidence-based recommendations from an inquiry.

Obviously, we will need to tidy up our terms of reference a bit. To give an idea of the terms of reference, or where we would start, we would look at factors influencing Tasmania’s performance under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, the causes and consequences of serious and fatal incidents on Tasmanian roads, how road design, construction and maintenance impact on road safety, the role of local government and the state government in improving road safety, the role of education in improving behaviours on Tasmanian roads, deterring and penalising poor behaviour on Tasmanian roads and the impact of road safety on the Tasmanian health system.

They are all very important and particularly, we know the difficulty is with health and the waiting list, but also every serious injury not only has impact on our health system but also on people's lives and employment. There are so many factors to be taken into it and also the efficacy of the Road Safety Levy and other road safety funding issues and other matters incidental thereto. It is a fairly simplistic inquiry looking at matters that may improve road safety. I would ask members to consider supporting this motion because it is very important and believe we could get some very good evidence-based data.


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