Road safety funding cut as
death toll rises – Robertson
THE State Government is slashing funding to the Centre for Road Safety while figures reveal 397 people have died on New South Wales roads in the past 12 months, 40 more then in the previous year, says the State Opposition.
The funding cuts are revealed in internal Treasury documents that show 378 jobs will be cut this year alone from the Department of Roads and Maritime Services, with the cuts expected to total more than 681 jobs over the next four years, says Opposition Leader John Robertson.
The Centre for Road Safety will be hit hard and is expected to lose more than a quarter of its staff.
“Barry O’Farrell needs to stop the cuts to road safety programs today,” says Mr Robertson.
“Sadly we have seen the road toll in NSW increase over the past 12 months to 397 – that’s 40 more lives lost on our roads this year than last.
“Every death on our roads is a tragedy and the O’Farrell government should be doing everything it can to prevent these accidents – but instead it has cut funding for road safety programs.
“With 400 people a year dying on our roads, there are no excuses for scaling back road safety initiatives.
“These 681 job cuts will have a devastating impact on road safety programs and services to motorists across NSW and they should be reversed today.”
Mr Robertson says the Premier needs to explain why road safety funding is being cut at the same time the government is rolling out more speed cameras and higher fines under the guise of increasing funding for road safety programs.
“Barry O’Farrell needs to explain why in this budget he is gouging an extra $180 million from motorists through speeding fines and at the same time cutting the very programs that save lives on our roads,” says Mr Robertson.
“The . . . government is rolling out 193 extra speed cameras and increasing speeding fines by 12.5 per cent in what we now know is nothing more than a cynical cash-grab on motorists.
“The question is, where is the money going because it clearly isn’t being invested in road safety initiatives.
“The people of NSW were promised better by this government, but instead they’ve been hit with more speed cameras, higher fines and cuts to road safety programs – it’s just not good enough,” Mr Robertson says.
Labor’s roads spokesman, Robert Furolo, says the Treasury documents reveal funding to the Road Toll Response Package has been cut by $2.1 million, or 48 per cent.
“The Road Toll Response Package was announced in 2007 to save lives on our roads through everything from safety bollards on dual carriageways to pedestrian fencing at dangerous intersections and local road works at known black spots,” Mr Furolo says.
“It is beyond belief that the O’Farrell government is cutting this program at the same time the road toll is increasing in NSW.”