Local roads comprise 85% by length of Australia's road network and are the essential means of accessing homes, businesses, health, education and community services and recreational opportunities. They are a vital component of the 'residential amenity' of our neighbourhoods - and a crucial part of this amenity is safety.
But the pressure on our roads - and on safety - is dramatically accelerating. By 2020, Australia's total freight task will almost double; urban passenger trips will increase by about a third; and non-urban passenger travel could rise by about 70%. This growth will place much greater demands on local transport infrastructure and the safety margins of our road system.
To manage this challenge, local government must be a key partner in the efficient and effective planning, funding and delivery of road services. The Roads to Recovery (R2R) and Black spots programs are excellent examples of federal and local government partnerships which are providing direct benefits to our community. Increased safety has been a major outcome of the more than 14,000 R2R projects. Improving the surface condition, width and alignment of many local roads, upgrading dangerous intersections and better signage, all make a real difference to road safety in our community.
Road safety has a strong Australia-wide focus, and ALGA represents local government on the National Road Safety Strategy Panel, the Austroads Road Safety Taskforce and the Australasian College of Road Safety. ALGA also has a good working relationship with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, in the federal Department of Transport and Regional Services.
Local government also has a valuable partnership with state governments in providing community-based road safety officer programs.
The Western Australian Local Government Association co-ordinates the RoadWise Program, as an important element of the WA Road Safety Strategy. For details contact:
Ms Terri-Anne Pettet
RoadWise Program Manager
Western Australian Local Government Association
Phone: 08 9321 5055
In NSW, the Local Government Road Safety Officer program is a collaborative approach for achieving road safety in NSW councils. . For details contact:
Mr Paul Riley
Road Safety Program Manager
Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (NSW)
Phone: 02 8267 3012
These initiatives illustrate the active partnerships used by local government to promote road safety. ALGA's membership of key national road safety groups and the 'SaferRoads' program, its support of road safety research and councils' development of safer road infrastructure, all combine to help deliver safer communities and reduce road trauma across Australia.