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Monday, 5 March 2001
Page: 24943

Mr ZAHRA (4:24 PM) —I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate on national roads. The loss of life in car accidents is tragic. I think everyone in this House over the years would have been affected by the loss of a loved one to road trauma. As you drive along any highway and quite a few of the local roads and rural roads in Australia, you observe the memorials. You see the crosses and the flowers on the side of the road. You see the memorials that families have put down by the road to reflect the loss they have suffered, their loved ones having died there. I guess people want to remind road users of the danger involved in driving on that particular stretch of road. The memorials serve as an important reminder. We need to be cognisant of the need felt in the community to improve road safety. Recognising that the families of people who have died as a result of road trauma want to somehow educate others about the dangers on the road, we have to transmit their effort into a national effort to improve how we respond to the realities of danger on the road.

I am a great supporter of the Black Spot Program, which seeks to identify areas of particular risk to motorists. Certainly in my electorate a number of these black spot areas have been identified and put in place. From the point of view of the motorist, I do about 2,500 kilometres every week. Many members of this place would do so as well, representing rural electorates. I find the black spots to be an important identifier of areas which might be dangerous. When people come from Melbourne to my electorate they can be a little intimidated by the roads sometimes. I find it heartening to know that there are in place these black spot identification signs which alert motorists who might not be particularly used to the roads in our area to the areas of particular risk.

In my electorate a number of important road projects will contribute to the safety of motorists in our district, not the least of which is the Pakenham bypass. The state government has allocated in the VicRoads forecast $100 million towards this important project. Whilst the Commonwealth government in 1998 announced that it would contribute $30 million towards the project, we have yet to see that money forthcoming. We would like to see a bipartisan effort by the Commonwealth government and the state government towards building this project. We have a commitment of $100 million from the state government towards this project.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned. The resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting. The honourable member for McMillan will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.