Infrastructure funding boost an opportunity to seal road shoulders in the bush

Roads Australia has welcomed today’s infrastructure announcement by the Commonwealth and recommended the half billion-dollar road safety funding injection be targeted toward ‘low cost, high return’ maintenance treatments to some of regional Australia’s most dangerous roads.

In welcoming today’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a $1.5 billion funding package for small, shovel-ready projects, RA President Michael Bushby said the inclusion of $500 million for road safety works created an opportunity for states and territories to tackle one of the biggest regional road challenges – single vehicle lane departure crashes.

“Despite making up only 16.5 per cent of the nation’s population, regional Australia accounts for two out of three road deaths,” Mr Bushby said.

“RA has been pushing for increased Federal funding for low-cost road safety treatments, such as shoulder sealing and the installation of audible edge lines, for some time.

“It’s been shown that these relatively inexpensive fixes can reduce the risk of single vehicle lane departure crashes – that is, drivers running off the road or into oncoming traffic – by up to two-thirds in parts of regional Australia.”

Roads Australia is hosting a workshop of government and industry leaders in the near future to discuss priorities for regional road safety improvements that deliver high returns relative to their cost.

Mr Bushby said the issue was part of a much larger discussion about road maintenance funding, and the urgent need to invest in maintenance and other works to ensure networks remained available and resilient.

Infrastructure Australia recognised the need for a national strategy on road maintenance as a High Priority Initiative in its latest Infrastructure Priority List, released in February.

Mr Bushby also welcomed the focus in today’s announcement on providing opportunities for smaller contractors and suppliers.

“It’s great to get on with the mega projects, but we also need to support the medium and small-sized road projects that tier 2 and 3 contractors and their suppliers rely on,” he said.

“Many smaller contractors aren’t sharing in the rewards of Australia’s transport infrastructure boom, and there is capacity available to progress these smaller projects.”

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