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Media release

Road safety plan fails test of transparency

7.2.2023

The National Road Safety Action Plan (2023-25) released today repeats mistakes of the past and risks having little impact on improving road safety outcomes.

Australia’s peak motoring body says the National Road Safety Action Plan (2023-25) released today repeats mistakes of the past and risks having little impact on improving road safety outcomes.

The Action Plan, meant to guide actions needed to meet nationally agreed road trauma reduction targets, fails to deliver transparency reforms previously and repeatedly recommended by independent inquiries, government reviews, and expert advice.

One of the greatest roadblocks to improving road safety in this country is the non-publication of critical road safety data that could allow Australians to judge whether state and federal governments are investing in the right projects to improve road safety.

Australians know that road deaths are continuing to rise. But we have no information about rates of serious injury, the exact location of our most-dangerous black spots or the safety rating of the road.

States and territories have this information, but it is not made public.

AAA Managing Director, Michael Bradley said “Motorists and taxpayers have a right to full transparency of road safety data so they can be assured that governments are investing scarce public money where it is most needed to deliver safety outcomes.
“Public investment in roads must be about saving lives, not seats.

“The new Federal Government has a golden opportunity to reset the dial on road safety by making its road funding grants to states contingent on transparency of road safety data.
“But this report is silent on the issue of evidence-based road funding. The Government must address this issue in May’s Budget.’’

The AAA welcomes the Action Plan’s acknowledgment that: ‘There is a critical need to improve national road safety data, and strengthen the evidence base for decisions on the most efficient and effective ways to deliver better road safety outcomes’’.

The AAA also welcomes the review of road safety research being undertaken by the Australian Government and all state and territory governments. Since 2019, the AAA has invested $3.4 million in its Road Safety Research Program.

But given the 5 per cent increase in road deaths in 2022 despite government commitments to halve road deaths through the decade to 2030, what is needed is a concrete data-driven response needed to arrest this current trajectory.

“It is unacceptable that Australian governments continue to commit to road safety reduction metrics that are unreported, unmeasured, or undefined.

The Action Plan states that the National Road Safety Data Collection and Reporting Framework, and National Road Safety Minimum Dataset won’t be delivered until late 2024.

This should be done sooner given the data will inform policy and the ambitious targets agreed in the Strategy which cannot be measured without the data. This date will also be too late to leverage the new National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects to require jurisdictions to provide road safety data to be eligible for road funding.

The AAA looks forward to working with the proposed Road Safety Data Working Group, which will focus on making data available for measuring progress towards the National Road Safety Strategy (2021-30).

AAA Media contact: Matthew Franklin, Director – External Affairs, 0411 659 868, matthew.franklin@aaa.asn.au  

The Australian Automobile Association is the nation’s peak motoring body, representing Australia’s state-based motoring clubs and their 8.9 million members. The AAA is an apolitical and technology-neutral advocate for federal transport policy that improves safety, affordability, and mobility.

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