Roads Australia (RA) says the new Infrastructure Australia report, “Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps”, reflects the particular infrastructure needs of regional Australia that are necessary to meet their community and economic needs.
“The report unsurprisingly finds that transport is an infrastructure gap in many of the 48 Regional Development Australia areas, as well as a regional strength,” said RA CEO Michael Kilgariff.
“With significant regional population growth reported over the last few years, IA has highlighted infrastructure gaps in regional transport, including the capacity, connectivity and quality of public transport, road infrastructure and freight infrastructure.
“Seeking to highlight and fill infrastructure gaps in the regional transport network, while also supporting the opportunities that the transport network provides, will help growth and investment.
“Our regional road infrastructure is the foundation of connectivity for regional Australians. Regional Australia’s transport networks are also important to provide access for our strong manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors to local and international markets.
“Infrastructure Australia also recognised the need for a national strategy on road maintenance as a High Priority Initiative in its 2020 Infrastructure Priority List.
“Despite making up only 16.5 per cent of the nation’s population, regional Australia accounts for two out of three road deaths.
“Given nearly two thirds of all fatal road crashes occur on rural and remote roads, improving the standard of regional and remote roads will save many people from being killed or seriously injured.
“A focus on road safety works would tackle one of the biggest regional road challenges – single vehicle lane departure crashes.
“It’s been shown that relatively inexpensive fixes, such as shoulder sealing and the installation of audible edge lines, 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.
“Quality regional public transport is also important as it promotes connections between regional and remote towns, and cities with larger centres, improving education, vocation and recreational options for regional Australians.
“This report is an important start to work that will allow regional Australia to capitalise on their strengths and plug their infrastructure gaps.”