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Monday, 5 March 2001
Page: 24938

Mr LLOYD (3:58 PM) —I move:

That this House:

(1) records its dismay and sorrow at the horrific Christmas/New Year death toll on our nation's roads, particularly in New South Wales and records its sympathy to the family and friends of those people who have died or been seriously injured;

(2) recognises the importance of maintaining an efficient and safe road transport network in both city and rural areas, as a vital component of lowering the road toll;

(3) calls on all State and Territory governments to match the Commonwealth's significant increase in road funding;

(4) acknowledges the Federal Government's increasing commitment to the national road network via its $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery funding package; and

(5) recognises the importance of on-going funding commitments to further improve the national highway system.

I am very pleased today to have the opportunity to put forward this private member's motion. The first item of that motion expresses my concern and my condolences, and I am sure those of every member of parliament, to the many victims of the road toll over the holiday period at Christmas and new year. I am sure all members were horrified by the horrific road toll that occurred during that holiday period. Australia wide, some 78 people lost their lives on roads throughout Australia. I think more significantly, the number in New South Wales was quite horrific in comparison to the other states, with 38 people dying over the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

It was interesting that, whilst there has not been a full investigation into those deaths, there was a whole range of issues that it would appear caused the deaths of those people. Nineteen of the 38 died in accidents where speed was a factor, 10 were not wearing seat belts, 11 died when drivers were affected by fatigue and six deaths involved drivers affected by alcohol. So you can see that there is a whole range of causes for those deaths. I certainly want to record my concerns and my condolences to the relatives and friends of those people who lost their lives, and to the people who were badly injured over that Christmas holiday period. People who are seriously injured in accidents obviously suffer for a long time, as do their friends and relatives. It is a great tragedy and a great loss to all of us in Australia.

Better roads are a way of reducing deaths and injuries on our roads. I want to commend the federal government on its Roads to Recovery package, the $1.6 billion which is being pumped into the roads system in Australia in an effort to reduce the road toll and to create better roads for all Australians. The federal government has provided that $1.6 billion to local governments and this money will be injected directly into councils. In my area, both Gosford and Wyong councils will receive an additional $7,359,000 over the next four years which has to be spent specifically on local roads. The Labor opposition are trying to make some political mileage out of such packages, but I have not noticed any of the Labor opposition or any Labor run councils offering to give the money back. This is a 75 per cent increase over the current 2000-01 financial assistance grants and will be in addition to the money already given by the federal government. I call on state governments to match the federal government's commitment to roads. I have not seen the New South Wales government rushing forward to inject more money into local roads, to improve them and make them safer. It is important that, as we said in question time, state governments put their money where their mouths are.

Also, there is an issue locally which affects not just my electorate but all of New South Wales and Australia, that is, the road transport from Sydney, heading north through New South Wales into Queensland—the F3 freeway. There has been a long history of wanting a better road along that highway, right back to 1960. The first section of the F3 was opened on 15 December 1965, from the Hawkesbury River to Mount White and carrying on to Calga in 1966. That section of freeway is now 36 years old. It is one of the most heavily trafficked sections of freeway anywhere in Australia. I have been running a campaign to force the federal government to provide the $80 million that is required to widen the F3. Today, I wish to present to parliament a petition with 11,733 signatures from electors all around New South Wales, particularly from my electorate. I want to thank the residents and businesses of the Central Coast for their efforts in collecting these many hundreds of signatures. I would also like to thank my colleague Phillip Ruddock, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, for his assistance in collecting petitions. I call on the federal government to provide the urgently needed funding of $80 million to widen the bottleneck on the F3 so that commuters are not delayed every single week in traffic delays in the Mount White section of the F3. It is the vital arterial road between Sydney and all areas north and it is important that it is kept free flowing. We need the money to widen the F3 as quickly as possible. (Time expired)

Mr Bartlett —I second the motion and reserve my right to continue my remarks.