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Senator Milne calls for Tas road safety measures from budget

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne is calling on the Federal government to allocate funding for Tasmanian road safety measures from today's budget.

"Despite 2009 being a shocking year on our roads with 64 needless deaths, the Federal government in their last budget gave not a single cent for improving safety on our roads. That's nothing at all from a $22 billion infrastructure package.

"I am therefore hopeful that Mr Swan has looked at the figures; observed that road deaths in Tasmania raised 73 percent on the previous year compared with a national average of just 4.1 percent, and is intending to allocate funds accordingly.

"This is a particularly timely request considering the death yesterday of yet another Tasmanian motorist near Devonport.

"Clearly there are many contributing factors to these incidents, but the poor state of some of our most used roads indicates a much-needed injection of funds to boost road safety measures.

"Thousands of motorists drive the road from Hobart to the West Coast every year, but from Derwent Bridge to Strahan there is just one passing place. That's one passing place for a notoriously treacherous section of road stretching for 126km.

"Whilst the Lyell Highway is a state-owned road, it is up to the Federal government to address problems encountered in accident black spot areas.

"It is vital that all tiers of government work together to reduce our road toll. The AusRAP program, for example, which currently produces risk maps of all Federally-owned roads could easily be extended to state-owned roads where 85 percent of all road deaths occur.

"This is not a call to build more roads, but to take the vital and pragmatic step of improving the network we currently have.

"It is also an ideal opportunity to allocate funding for extended public transport networks, cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas within our population centres. If you minimise the number of cars on our roads whilst improving facilities for all road users, you will ultimately save lives.

"It is encouraging to see this year's road toll is considerably less than the same time last year, but still 12 people have died. That's 12 families enduring needless heartache. We can and must do more, and the Treasurer is the person to get the ball rolling."

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