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Labor abandons black spot funding - and with it its faith in safety and job creation



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JOHN SHARP ''

AusT ^^^ a `` MEDIA RELEASE

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HUME SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Tel 06 277 4213, Fax 06 277 2124

LABOR ABANDONS BLACK SPOT FUNDING - AND WITH IT ITS FAITH IN SAFETY AND JOB CREATION

In dropping Black Spot funding in this Budget, and in chopping road funding by $608.3 million, with further cuts in road funding to follow next year that will take Federal road funding to below the actual levels of 1982/83, the Keating Government is going back on

a very positively stated belief that the Black Spot program was a major contributor not only to road safety but to employment.

The then Minister assisting the Treasurer, Peter Baldwin, said on 24 November 1982 in his second reading speech on the Appropriation Bill (no 3) 1992-93 that: "This program (the Black Spot Program) is a cost effective initiative to significantly improve safety standards at sites with a history of traffic accidents.

In addition to improving the safety standards on Australia's road system, this increase in expenditure will create new employment opportunities."

Nine months later, the merits of both improved safety standards and employment opportunities seem to have vanished.

What had to be implemented quickly and what was in the best interests of the nation then, to again quote Mr Baldwin, has been dropped unceremoniously in this Budget.

The Keating Government has most certainly not fixed up all of Australia's black spots -Mr Baldwin would only have to travel home from Canberra by road up the Federal Highway to know that. The stretch alongside Lake George continues as a notorious horror stretch, claiming both vehicles and lives.

What has obviously changed is the Keating Government's commitment to road safety and to employment creation.

It is a long way on from 1991, when the then Minister for Land Transport Bob Brown complimented his Parliamenta ry colleagues on the support that they had given the Black Spot program and their very positive endorsement of it. He observed then that the

expected impact of the program was to be a saving of 220 lives per year and urged his colleagues not to trivialise it. He particularly complimented the Prime Minister for bringing himself to the program.

The Keating Government has now undertaken the ultimate in trivialisation of the program by eliminating it altogether.

ruIIU COMMONWEALTH I PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY titICAH J

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What was then described by the Minister as "one of the most outstanding programs for road safety that has ever been adopted by any government in Australia" has now been ditched without any explanation or apology.

Federal Office of Road Safety statistics indicated that for every $4 million of road funding one life had been saved. For every $500,000 spent on the Black Spot program the statistics indicated one life had been saved.

To have ignored these life-saving values by slashing road funding and abolishing the Black Sport program is nothing short of irresponsible.

Ends......RD21/93 Contact: John Wallis

18-8-93 A/H 06 277 4213