Road Safety Minister must address shameful Road Trauma Trust Account findings

A record $95 million currently lies dormant in the Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) while a scathing report from the Auditor General has revealed the critical fund is not being used to effectively curb WA’s road death toll.

Shadow Minister for Road Safety Martin Aldridge MLC said the Auditor General’s Management of the Road Trauma Trust Account report was a wake-up call for the State Government.

“The report found the RTTA – one of the most significant mechanisms the State Government has to invest in road safety – is not effectively channelling funds into projects that could save lives on WA roads,” Mr Aldridge said.

“Disturbingly, the report uncovered a lack of strategic direction within the Road Safety Council and the Road Safety Commission, which jointly administer this funding.

“This has resulted in an annual expenditure of around $100 million on road safety projects without any significant reduction to WA’s road death toll in the past decade.”

The RTTA is funded through revenue generated from red light cameras and speeding tickets. Figures disclosed in the WA Police annual report indicate the trust account currently holds an all-time high of $95 million.

Mr Aldridge said the Road Safety Minister needed to take responsibility for the failures outlined in the report and ensure funding was getting out the door to projects that will have a positive road safety impact.

“It is unacceptable and shameful for the Minister to hoard almost $100 million in a year which has seen tragedy after tragedy on our roads. This funding must be urgently directed to priority projects to make our roads safer instead of languishing in the Treasury coffers,” he said.

There have been 122 deaths on WA roads in 2023 to date, including 61 in the metropolitan region – making it the worst year on Perth roads in a decade.

Mr Aldridge said given the record funding in the account, the Minister needed to explain his refusal to use the surplus to purchase an additional rescue helicopter for regional WA as recommended by the government’s own aeromedical inquiry report.

“The deployment of a rescue helicopter can significantly enhance survival rates after a severe accident by saving crucial time – potentially making the difference between life and death.

“Instead, the State Government appropriated more than $10 million from the RTTA to purchase an additional police helicopter for Perth, despite a clear recommendation from the Road Safety Council against this.

“The Council found no evidence an additional police helicopter would improve road safety or reduce deaths or injuries – a recommendation the Government ignored.”

Mr Aldridge said the Minister had also failed to respond to a briefing request into WA’s Road Safety Camera Strategy made in November 2022. The Strategy will oversee the roll-out of new mobile point-to-point cameras anticipated to raise a further $69 million annually for the RTTA.”