Opposition Leader Shane Love has labelled comments made during Budget Estimates around regional road safety as deeply concerning.
Mr Love said the Road Safety Minister had downplayed the severity of the road toll in Western Australia when questioned about the efficacy of campaigns targeted at bringing down the confronting statistic.
“I was shocked by the Minister’s response when questioned in relation to the road toll and his nonchalance regarding the concerning statistics around road crashes on regional roads,” Mr Love said.
“With one quarter of WA’s population living in the regions, yet two thirds of fatal crashes occurring on regional roads, it is clear that we need change.
“Rather than dodge questioning and provide dismissive responses, the Opposition expected the Minister to display the gold-transparency lauded by the McGowan Labor Government.”
Mr Love said he also had concerns about the Minister’s response to funding for the Road Trauma Trust Account and whether it was better to spend the $57 million sitting in the account.
“I asked the Minister whether the $57 million currently in the RTTT would be better spent on road improvements, rather than sitting in the account,” he said.
“The Minister simply brushed it off as “an unfortunate consequence of when the budget is printed and compiled”.”
“West Australians expect the money dedicated towards Road Trauma does what is intended for and is spent accordingly to support people impacted by a road crash.”
Shadow Minister for Road Safety Martin Aldridge criticised the funding sitting idly in the Road Trauma Trust Account.
“With a closing balance of $57 million, it’s unacceptable that these funds meant for road safety remain unused,” he said.
“Countless road safety projects in WA could benefit from this investment and help reduce the road toll.”
Mr Aldridge said the devastating loss of 175 lives on WA roads in 2022 demanded more action from the McGowan Labor Government.
In the past five years, regional roads have witnessed 500 deaths and 2,700 serious injuries.