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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 2847

Ms KING (Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport) (9:33 AM) —Today I would really like to recognise the importance of road safety. It is something that I feel very strongly about and something that all Australians should feel very strongly about. This Sunday, 21 November, is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The world day of remembrance, supported by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, gives road users a chance to reflect on the trauma caused by road crashes, the impact on the victims and their families.

Road crashes affect people across all corners of the world—across Australia and across my own electorate of Ballarat. Australia’s fatality rate for 2009 was 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people which, for the first time since 1990, was higher than the OECD median. The statistics show that 75 per cent of deaths and 64 per cent of serious injuries occur on regional or remote roads. In the three years ended December 2009, 405 people were involved in accidents along the Western Freeway from Melbourne to Ballarat. This resulted in 194 people experiencing minor injuries, 204 being hospitalised and seven losing their lives. In those same three years, another 755 people were involved in accidents across the City of Ballarat, with a further 458 people experiencing minor injuries, 286 being hospitalised and 11 losing their lives. These figures are difficult to comprehend, more so for those families who have known somebody involved.

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, on 21 November, will remember those involved in accidents and is a moment to reflect on the importance of road safety. The federal government is committed to road safety. There is a lot we are doing and a lot more that can be done. We have been working with all state and territory governments on the next national draft road safety strategy. The strategy aims to support and strengthen national cooperation efforts to reduce the number of Australians killed or injured on our roads. The Australian Transport Council will soon be releasing that draft for public comment and the strategy highlights the need for safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe people.

All levels of government are responsible for delivering safe transport infrastructure, and it is the responsibility of individuals to treat our roads and others with the respect that they deserve. The responsibility is a shared one. We all have a responsibility to other road users to be safe, not sorry. We have a responsibility to our families and to our friends to make it home safely and to ensure all other drivers are safe around us. With the holiday season fast approaching, I urge everyone to take the time to think about the importance of acting responsibly—drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. On Sunday I will be remembering the victims of road safety accidents, and I wish everybody safety on our roads.