Following their assessment of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (and the supporting 2015-17 action plan), authors—Dr John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley—stressed the importance of strong leadership, strategic planning, national collaboration, improved implementation and increased accountability, arguing that these factors are central to Australia achieving improvements in road safety.
Crozier and Woolley described the approach to road safety over the past decade as an "implementation failure". Their report also concluded that the scale and leverage that can be gained by embedding road safety in "business as usual" activity has yet to be achieved and observed that, with a few notable exceptions, the tools, frameworks and quality control needed to guide harm minimisation, "remain in their infancy and are not widespread".
Crozier and Woolley's review determined that an agreed strategic response to road safety would be an "absolutely vital" element in any new road safety strategy. The NRSS Inquiry Report also emphasised the need for all levels of government, the private sector and key road safety stakeholders to support systematic change and become part of the solution: noting that "otherwise the Safe System [approach] will continue to behave as a collection of Safe Silos."
The NRSS Inquiry Report pointed to recent increases in deaths and serious injuries on Australia's roads, and argued that the increase proves that the resources currently allocated to road safety are not adequate. Based on this finding, the Report made a series of recommendations, which centred on road safety investment and the importance of it being provided in a targeted, cost‑efficient and cost effective way.
In evidence provided to the committee, Professor Woolley made clear his view that while "stimulus packages and additional funding in road safety are certainly most welcome", it is the "systematic changes identified in the inquiry that will create the necessary conditions for ultimate success".
Federal, whole-of-government leadership, strategy and investment
The need for systematic change was a view shared by stakeholder groups. In evidence, stakeholders advocated for a strategic, cohesive and consistent approach to road safety, and stressed the need for a clear strategy, federal, whole-of-government leadership and an appropriate level of investment.
In line with the call for strong, national leadership, the NRSS Inquiry Report recommended the appointment of a Cabinet Minister for road safety to "prioritise the issue and ensure it is addressed by government".
The newly-appointed Minister would take responsibility for prioritising strong strategic alliances across states and territories, and for ensuring that jurisdictional and national actions complement each other.
While state and territory and local governments have a role to play in relation to strategic planning and implementation, the Minister would take the lead in establishing and monitoring road safety performance indicators in relation to:
federal road infrastructure;
federal, vehicle-related research and development projects;
road funding (across all jurisdictions); and
federal transport-related contracts.
Stakeholder groups emphasised the importance of a united front when it comes to road safety and stressed the need for unity and consistency across federal, state and territory and local government jurisdictions.
More specifically, stakeholders argued that strong, federal, whole‑of‑government involvement would be needed to establish effective road safety strategies, prioritise investment and ensure the efficient implementation of those strategies.
The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), for example, argued that it has been well established in the international road safety community that road safety requires two things: "the need to improve the transfer of information, and the establishment of a firm leadership structure". Further, it was argued that addressing road trauma and promoting road safety requires increased collaboration across all road safety stakeholder groups and a united effort to eliminate death and injuries on Australia's roads.
Safe System principles
Stakeholders told the committee that the Commonwealth has a number of options by which to guarantee that state and territory and local governments incorporate Safe System principles. There was clear support for the recommendation made by Woolley and Crozier that road safety—specifically the adoption of a Safe Systems approach—needs to be made a legitimate part of 'business as usual' within Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments.
The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) acknowledged that behaviour "that leads to road crashes is not solely a road transport problem", noting that "social, economic and health factors also shape behaviour".
TMR submitted that there are "rich opportunities to reach people with interventions appropriate to their life and situation and take a 'whole of life' approach to influence generational change and culture". TMR pointed to initiatives that are designed to support disadvantaged individuals and communities to progress through the licensing system, which can also have the benefit of facilitating social inclusion and access to employment opportunities.
TMR indicated that as a department, it increasingly takes a 'systems' approach to identify the broader context of road crashes and bring these into road safety policy and development. TMR noted, for example, that it had undertaken a project to explore in more detail the complexities of driver distraction. The committee was told that:
The project analysed the impact and causes of mobile phone distraction, including who does it and why they choose to do it. A driver's decision to use their phone while driving is influenced by different factors in a complex environment, comprised of vehicles, devices, insurance, access to the telecommunications network, employers, infrastructure, regulations, enforcement and social attitudes.
TMR argued therefore that:
Just as driver distraction is influenced by multiple elements, its effective deterrence requires a multi-faceted approach, including cooperation between levels of government, industry and other stakeholders.
Representations made by the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) made it clear that, "in simple terms, Vision Zero and Safe System outcomes will be achieved when we have 5-star road users, in 5-star vehicles on 5-star roads and the safe speeds to ensure no one is killed or injured". The committee was told that, from an iRAP perspective, the areas which are key to integrating Safe System principles include:
corporate, industry and community use and access to AusRAP Risk Mapping and Star Rating Data to provide the safest route and mode-choice for journeys;
spot star ratings completed at fatal and serious injury crash scenes and routinely reported to the Standing Committee and the Office of Road Safety, and available in the public domain to support discussions;
design for outcomes, not a design to 'standards'. This would involve a new approach where the start point for designs is a 5-star performance level and design teams and funding agencies must then justify anything less than 5‑star highlighting any 'cost savings' associated with the increased death and injury expected over 20 years and why it is the design recommended;
integration of Safe System and AusRAP data and knowledge in the education system; and
building on TAC/iRAP Injury Dashboard and engaging Health Ministers and professionals to understand lifetime costs of road trauma and impact on resources.
Melbourne group, Streets Alive Yarra, pointed to what it described as Australia's "vertical fiscal imbalance", and noted that local government is responsible for expenditure to maintain or improve streets and roads, but does not benefit from reduced population health costs. Rather, it was argued, state and federal governments benefit from this current situation.
The group submitted that the solution is to remove the vertical fiscal imbalance by providing sustained funding to local government to invest in Safe System principles. It was suggested that some ways to ensure that both state and territory and local governments incorporate Safe System principles include:
the provision of sustained, long-term funding to local government for road infrastructure that aligns with Safe System—such as 30 km/h superblocks, continuous footpaths, protected bicycle lanes and level access tram stops;
the provision of sustained long-term funding to state government for road infrastructure that aligns with Safe System, such as arterial roads with fully separated and protected bicycle lanes;
the requirement for state and local governments to reduce speed limits in accordance with Safe System;
linking federal road funding to requirements to deliver road infrastructure that is rated at least five stars by the International or Australian Road Assessment Program (iRAP or AusRAP); and
provide funding to each local government in Australia to fund an iRAP or AusRAP hazard identification and risk assessment review of a selection of representative streets in their region, such as a shopping street, an access street and a residential street—which will build the evidence base for investment in infrastructure that aligns with Safe System.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) submitted, however, that the concept of road infrastructure investment 'incorporating Safe System principles' has not been explained. The AAA observed that "it is unclear how the incorporation of Safe System principles might be demonstrated or evaluated". Further the AAA submitted that the organisation holds doubts that:
… a mere requirement for jurisdictions to consider the 'Safe System' in project selection criteria will deliver genuine change in the prioritisation of road safety in infrastructure funding. Safety benefits must be embedded and prioritised in infrastructure selection criteria and must be able to be measured by agreed standards. Further, selection criteria should include opportunity cost and report on this transparently.
The committee is assured by the clear support expressed by a range of stakeholders, across a number of jurisdictions, for the adoption of Safe System principles. The overwhelming support for a Safe System approach becoming a legitimate part of 'business as usual' within Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments, is also a positive sign.
As with many policy areas in Australia's federated system of government, the vertical fiscal imbalance is an issue which inhibits policy decisions being translated into action on the ground. In terms of road infrastructure, long term decisions around funding are particularly crucial for the scale of infrastructure projects that are often required in a country as geographically challenging as Australia.
As discussed elsewhere in this report, the committee welcomes Australian Government funding being contingent on adopting the safest possible safety principles in building and improving road transport infrastructure. However, the Safe System approach is about more than funding; it is about a true systemic partnership being developed between all levels of government, and is an area where the coordination role of the recently established Office of Road Safety will come to the fore.
The Office of Road Safety (ORS)
The Australian Government established the Office of Road Safety (ORS) in July 2019, with the aim of improving coordination and leadership across all levels of government. In August 2019, the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) agreed that the ORS would take the lead in the development of the NRSS for 2021-2030.
One of the fundamental principles of the Safe System approach to road safety is a shift in focus: away from transport portfolios and individual road users, and toward increased engagement with the broader community. The change of focus will see the ORS engaging and forming connections with a wider cross‑section of agencies, including the Health, Education, Home Affairs (police) and Attorney-Generals (justice) portfolios with a view to effecting change and developing a road safety culture across a wider cross-section of agencies.
In addition to supporting portfolios to become key enablers of change and advocates for road safety, the ORS will play a central role in the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The ORS will also take responsibility for implementing the NRSS for 2021-2030, and monitoring (and reviewing) the new strategy against agreed KPIs and targets.
The need for the ORS to be adequately resourced was an area of key agreement amongst stakeholders. In addition to the Office being provided with an appropriate level of funding, it was argued that ORS staff should also have access to the resources (and opportunities) which would allow them to connect with, and learn from the world's best performing jurisdictions.
Stakeholders also argued that the ORS must be provided with the means necessary to establish cooperative, meaningful relationships and work with representatives across all levels of government, road safety advocates, stakeholder groups and community organisations.
The AAA did express some concern about whether—as a business unit of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development—the ORS "lacks the authority within the bureaucracy to cut through and drive important road safety innovations".
In providing evidence to the inquiry, ORS representatives acknowledged that the NRSS Inquiry had identified a lack of leadership (at a federal level) as an issue to be addressed. It was also acknowledged that the ORS had created a focus for the Commonwealth, giving road safety a prominence it had not previously enjoyed, and provided the opportunity to better coordinate across the Commonwealth.
The ORS explained that it has been working hard to get people to understand that road safety is not necessarily a transport problem, but one that also includes the Department of Health, Indigenous agencies, Treasury and Prime Minister and Cabinet. To that end, the ORS indicated that it has put together a cross-jurisdictional working group with all states and territories and the Australian Local Government Association.
In summarising the way in which the ORS views its current and future role, Assistant Secretary, Ms Gabby O'Neill told the committee:
So, at that government level, we are working together collaboratively to make sure everybody is on board and we've got shared knowledge and shared expectation. That's certainly about the creation and development of the strategy. Wrangling all of those is quite a task in itself, but it's been extremely beneficial to get a single line of expectation and way forward. There's also the reporting, monitoring and accountability that we intend to develop as a performance measurement framework to make sure that, with the development of the strategy, there's a single point of call that is going to monitor whether people are doing what they said they would do and whether they are focused on the right things, on progress and the level of transformation we see across the system. Those are our main goals.
The role of the ORS
The establishment of the ORS was described as a positive development by the majority of submitters. Stakeholders also supported the role the ORS will play in drafting the new NRSS (and associated Action Plans), particularly if they are thorough, evidence-based, and built on the recommendations contained in the NRSS Inquiry Report.
A number of stakeholders argued that the ORS is also well-placed to take on a leadership role, with groups such as Transurban arguing that:
The Office has an excellent opportunity to lead the capability development in the Safe System Approach across all sectors of government and other stakeholders particularly industry and the community sector that derives approvals for infrastructure, delivers on legislation and obtains funding from government grants.
In addition to expressing support for the ORS's establishment, stakeholders provided their views regarding the future role of the ORS. While some stakeholder groups described their vision of the ORS's role in a more traditional way, others expressed support for a move away from the view of road safety as something 'transport' or 'road-user' related, toward a vision of road safety as something that is integrated across all levels of government, industry and the wider community.
The NSW Government, for example, noted that during the consultation phase of the NRSS Inquiry, it had strongly advocated for the Commonwealth to take on the primary leadership role in relation to road safety. It submitted that the Australian Government is "uniquely placed to lead a response to this issue, working with state and territory governments to coordinate a cohesive national response that will lead to zero road trauma in Australia". Further, it was argued that the Commonwealth's leadership role should be reflected in the structure and functions of the ORS, and that broadly, the two key roles of the Office should be:
ensuring that all types of vehicles entering Australia maximise safety; and
ensuring adequate funding support for safety features on the road network (for both new projects and the retrofitting of features to the network).
In addition, the NSW Government argued that the ORS should also take responsibility for:
the development and implementation of policy;
the provision of reports to the TIC (regarding progress made against key outcomes);
management of infrastructure programs;
working across all levels of government and departments to ensure appropriate allocation of funding;
implementation of legislative and regulatory changes; and
monitoring the latest international research.
The AAA told the committee that its Reviving Road Safety document is intended to provide a set of priorities for the Government—and the newly established ORS. The document outlines the four key areas the AAA (and its stakeholder organisations) view as the top priorities for the Commonwealth. The 'immediate next steps' are listed as:
ensuring the new ORS has genuine authority to oversee the development and progress of the next NRSS;
developing a national road safety data hub within the ORS, which would coordinate the collection and analysis of safety data to help develop future policy and investments;
linking infrastructure funding to road safety outcomes, and using incentive payments to ensure road funding proposals are tied to safety standards; and
encouraging the uptake of safer vehicles and working toward targets to lower the average age of Australia's vehicle fleet.
In addition to taking on a leadership role, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) submitted that the ORS should operate as the primary policy advisor to the federal ministers for road safety on matters related to the delivery of safe roads, vehicles, speeds, and people. It was also argued that the ORS should:
draw together interdisciplinary expertise and experience to learn, share and channel effort toward proven approaches to reducing national road trauma;
work collaboratively with counterpart agencies across the states and territories, as well as expert agencies such as the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads; and
work toward national consistency in road safety.
In line with a move toward an increased level of engagement with the wider community, the George Institute for Global Health (George Institute) made a number of suggestions regarding the role the ORS should be undertaking. These included advocacy for, and coordination of, multi-sectorial action, coordination and oversight of state level delivery of the Safe System and ensuring access to safe vehicle technologies. It also raised the possibility of the ORS working with bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to advocate for research into road safety and road injury.
The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA) noted the recommendation made in the NRSS Inquiry Report that "a national data observatory be created and resourced to address the nation's long standing and embarrassing data issues in road safety". It was argued that this is a role that could be performed by the ORS, which should place an emphasis on transparency and data sharing—beyond government. RACWA recommended that the ORS:
deals with long standing and pervasive data collection and reporting problems, including requiring state and territory government agencies to adopt more robust approaches to track and measure reduction in road trauma statistics, consistent with a national framework (comprising agreed metrics, reporting formats and data sharing arrangements); and
beyond 'serious injuries', considers the future benefit of reporting on all crashes, whether or not they result in injury, to create a more complete picture of road safety risks to inform decision-making.
The committee notes that there is clear support for the ORS. The committee agrees with the views of a number of stakeholder groups which argued that by increasing engagement with the wider community and consulting with a wider cross-section of agencies (including health, police and justice), the ORS will be able to provide more holistic advice to the Australian Government.
The committee supports the role the ORS will play in developing the new NRSS and the associated action plans, and is of the view that the ORS is in a unique position to drive concerted action to improve national consistency in road safety.
The NRSS Inquiry found that "recent increases in deaths and serious injuries on Australia's roads demonstrate that the scale of resources currently allocated to reduce harm is far from adequate". Based on this finding, the Inquiry Report recommended that, from 1 July 2019, the Australian Government commit $3 billion a year to a road safety fund. It also recommended legislation be enacted to guarantee Commonwealth investment in road safety would be at least 10 per cent of the annual cost of road crashes to Australia (which the $3 billion currently represents).
The NRSS Inquiry also recommended that:
a minimum of 5 per cent of funds be allocated for a road safety innovation initiative that could deliver results in Australia and provide export potential globally (this could include new insurance or mobility solutions, speed management, infrastructure treatments and delivery mechanisms, enforcement techniques or trauma care); and
a minimum of 5 per cent of funds be allocated for a road safety enablers initiative (which would provide appropriate long-term resourcing to key agencies and non-government organisations with a demonstrated role in accelerating road safety improvements).
Noting that the road network is largely controlled by local governments, the TMR stressed the need for all governments to work together – particularly with local government – to address road safety issues in remote and regional Australia.
To that end, TMR advocated for an increase in Commonwealth funding for the maintenance and safe operation of both the local government controlled road network and the National Land Transport Network (NLTN). It was submitted that while the Queensland Government has continued to steadily increase its commitment toward funding the maintenance and safe operation of the state-controlled road network, the Commonwealth's contribution has been less than what is required – particularly for the NLTN and local government roads.
The committee was advised that Queensland's transport system is both large and complex, and the state has faced significant challenges – including natural disasters and a growing freight task. For these reasons, it was submitted that:
There is continuing significant pressure on the department's budget to meet the challenges of maintaining the safe operation of the existing ageing road asset, while at the same time, expanding transport infrastructure and meeting increasing traffic demands on the state's extensive road network.
The issue of funding was also raised by the NSW Government, which argued that, "to show national leadership" the Commonwealth should ensure that funding for new roads (and major road improvements) "is contingent on delivery of specific Safe System infrastructure treatments such as median and roadside safety barriers". Noting that in August 2019, the TIC agreed to this outcome, the NSW Government argued that embedding Safe System principles into all new projects is a cost effective approach to achieving road safety benefits, particularly given a considerably larger investment would be required to retrofit safety improvements.
A number of stakeholder groups called for conditions to be placed around the provision of Commonwealth funding.
The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), for example, has for some time argued that the Australian Government should make the publication of safety star ratings on the National Road Network a condition for any Commonwealth investment in the network. The ACRS repeated this recommendation in its submission to the inquiry.
The AAA pointed to a recent Governance Review which found that "the Australian Government has not translated key performance indicators and measures into the action required". It was also argued that, whilst the next NRSS must maintain ambitious trauma reduction targets, "the inclusion of compliance mechanisms and consequences for failure to monitor or report on agreed targets" is more important.
The AAA expressed the view that the Commonwealth has been largely unable, or unwilling, to hold state and territory governments accountable for the NRSS targets to which each jurisdiction has agreed. Noting that the NRSS currently lacks a compliance mechanism, the AAA submitted that:
As the major funder of transport infrastructure, the Commonwealth Government has the capacity to influence the compliance of state and territory governments to deliver on the actions outlined in our NRSS and associated action plans.
The AAA also argued that this is a financial lever that must be utilised, and it must become a central part of Commonwealth road safety leadership into the future.
Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) raised concerns about the number of state and federal road safety programs which are rolled out without there being good evidence to determine whether or not they are effective, or whether they have been implemented effectively. Finding effective solutions to road safety problems, it was argued, will require a variety of additional research: basic research which generates new ideas for reducing road trauma, through to research which determines the most effective way to implement new strategies.
NeuRA submitted that where once Australia was a leader in the area of road safety research, the past decade had seen funding eroded to such an extent that researchers with specific expertise had been forced to leave the sector. Further, NeuRA argued that:
If road safety research received as much funding per fatality as breast cancer research does, we would be able to achieve much better outcomes and ensure that programs that are actually effective in reducing road trauma could be rolled out nationally. This year, for example, road safety research received less than one-tenth of the funding that breast cancer has from the NHMRC, even though there are 40 per cent as many deaths in road safety as there are in breast cancer nationally.
Funding for road safety was a key issue for stakeholders. The NRSS Inquiry Report argued that the current level of deaths and serious injuries occurring on Australia's roads indicates that the scale of resources (currently allocated for harm reduction) is inadequate. The review recommended that, from 1 July 2019, the Commonwealth commit $3 billion per annum to a road safety fund. The introduction of legislation which would guarantee a level of investment in road safety (that is at least 10 per cent of the annual cost of road crashes to Australia) was also recommended.
The Australian Government agreed to this recommendation in principle, and commits to invest an average of $3 billion per year to road infrastructure that will have a safety benefit. The committee welcomes this response, as well as the commitment that the Commonwealth will continue to work with other jurisdictions to 'identify priorities for investment and ensure that investment has regard to the safe system principles in accordance with the recently signed National Partnership Agreement'
The committee supports the findings of the NRSS Inquiry Report which recommended that the Australian government commit more funding to road safety.
As indicated in the committee's Interim Report, data collection, harmonisation, monitoring and reporting will be critically important for the next NRSS. Significantly, evidence provided throughout the inquiry has revealed that among stakeholders, there is a "strong appetite for governance and oversight" in this area.
A key component of the next NRSS will be the collection of the data necessary to make informed decisions, and to develop meaningful and achievable targets and performance indicators. Given that the definition and collection of serious injury data and a transition plan for harmonisation across jurisdictions have yet to be finalised, these matters will require close attention.
Throughout the committee's inquiry, data and its collection was described as a central issue by stakeholder groups. The NSW Government expressed the view that "to reduce the burden of road trauma, there is a need to fully understand the nature of the problem". This was a view shared by a number of other stakeholders who submitted that a reduction in road trauma will only be achieved by having access to accurate, high-quality, timely data: including data in relation to road deaths, injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes, as well as specific data regarding the environmental, human, vehicle and infrastructure factors that lead to road crashes.
The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) acknowledged that there has been "enormous improvement in the availability of crash data over the past few years". The IPWEA did, however, identify several areas which require further improvement:
the lack of data regarding the severity of crashes which limits state and road authorities ability to calculate the costs of crashes and prioritise treatments;
locations of crashes are not always pinpointed because the data is not always entered by the police at the scene of the crash – making it difficult to accurately determine the causes of crashes later on; and
the under reporting of crashes – particularly off-road crashes – because people do not want the police involved in what they consider minor incidents (or because they want to avoid possible prosecution).
It was argued that these issues continue to inhibit the ability of state and local road authorities and policy makers, to make informed decisions and develop appropriate strategies to address road safety. Noting that the problems associated with data collection are not the fault of the police, rather a reflection on what data is collected and the way it is gathered, IPWEA submitted that:
…improving the collection and reporting of detailed crash data on a consistent basis will foster a better understanding of the extent of crash related injuries. This would assist state and local road authorities and communities to determine exactly where the burden of injury is occurring and how much it is costing. It would also greatly assist all road authorities to prioritise road upgrades and develop other strategies and programs – to prevent or lessen the effects of all vehicle crashes.
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) also raised issues in relation to event data recording. Noting that collisions are analysed by experts to determine causation – including driver behaviour, speed, vehicle safety and road design – the RACS pointed to the fact that although Event Data Recorders (EDRs) have the capability to record pre-crash data (including speed, braking and acceleration) Australia currently has no legislation mandating vehicles be fitted with EDR, or that stored data be accessible. The RACS argued that "such legislation would enhance collision causation analysis, increasing road safety and reducing road trauma".
Dr Louise Rawlings, Acting Head of the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) told the committee that while a significant amount of data is already collected at the national level, accessing the data actually needed to make informed decisions has been a problem for some time. There have been improvements, however, in relation to the collection of data across the evidence base more generally, and the "dashboard presence around the enforcement series in terms of drug and alcohol".
Dr Rawlings pointed to the 30 per cent target in relation to 'serious injuries' which was set as part of the NRSS 2011-2020. It was noted that while some progress has been made in the collection of data relating to 'hospitalised injuries', it was also acknowledged that there is still no agreed national source of data against which to measure 'serious injuries'.
In evidence, Dr Rawlings summarised the progress made to date in relation to data collection, and detailed what is yet to be done:
What we need to do as a first step – and we're very, very focused on it – is this linkage piece around linking up crash data with hospitalisation data. What I can say in terms of progress is that we've currently got seven out of eight jurisdictions, and we do expect to have that national baseline data series throughout the course of this financial year. So progress is being made. But obviously they're not quick data wins that we can have. We need to work through those permission issues with jurisdictions, and they're not quick things to fix. It's around sharing the hospitals' data, with linking up with the police records, and then, if we want to have a national data set, allowing that data to leave that jurisdiction for that national analysis. So I would say that we are making good progress, but it is incremental. We are heading in a concrete way this financial year.
Data linkage, harmonisation and sharing
The George Institute also stressed the need for consistent data collection across all states and territories, but at the same time urged better use of available data sources. It was noted, for example, that while the majority of states and territories have forensic data which is collected by police crash investigation units, it is not well linked to other data sources such as hospital data or infringement data. It was suggested that odometer readings at vehicle registration could also provide better exposure data.
TMR argued that consideration should be given – at a national level – to investigating "what data is available to build on traditional road crash and health datasets". TMR also suggested investigating the role of big data – data held by organisations such as telecommunications companies – to understand whether and how other datasets can support increased knowledge to inform policy, enforcement investigations and/or alternative uses such as supporting insurance.
In addition to expressing full support for the harmonisation of injury data collection, iRAP endorsed the efforts made by organisations such as Austroads and the RACS to facilitate this work. The collection and use of injury data was identified as a valuable way to communicate with the Australian population about the human impact of road trauma, particularly given that:
The accountability, scale and urgency of our response – from politicians to business, from road agencies to road users – requires a much better understanding that deaths are just the tip of the iceberg.
The committee was advised that by linking data from NSW Health, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), Insurance and Care NSW (icare NSW), NSW Ambulance and the NSW Police Force, the NSW Government has established the first regular data linkage process for the routine collection of road crash 'serious injury' information in Australia. Having access to this data has assisted the NSW Government to tailor road safety measures under its Road Safety Plan 2021 (RSP 2021) to address both fatality and serious injury trends.
The RACS also stressed the importance of data linkage, and argued that data linkage between key agencies – including ambulance services, hospitals and emergency departments, police and insurance companies – is essential. The RACS recommended enhanced data collection and improved reporting on the location of serious crashes linked to the road and other conditions (such as speed zone, road quality, location, drug and alcohol use and weather). It was argued that this additional information would allow for a more detailed examination of 'association' and lead to improved response measures. The RACS also submitted that, in terms of data linkage:
timely multiple-agency serious injury data capture, collation, release and sharing is needed within integrated agencies;
there is currently a significant time lag between incidents occurring and relevant data becoming available for analysis (this prohibits monitoring of outcomes of road safety efforts and hinders the assessment of the effectiveness of implemented programs and developing appropriate policies);
no Australian trauma centre registry currently collects data on distractions associated with road-related hospital admissions; and
intelligent transport systems (ITS) technology can record mobile phone use while driving and will assist future data collection.
In August 2016, BITRE reported that Australia's performance in addressing serious injuries from road crashes was difficult to measure because of the lack of a reliable, nationally consistent, source of non-fatal crash data. BITRE identified police-sourced crash data as the primary source of information on injury outcomes at the state and territory level. It was also noted that while all Australian states and territories record a road death (when a person dies within 30 days) different injury definitions apply for non-fatal injuries.
It was acknowledged during the inquiry, that some jurisdictions are taking steps to improve their systems for collecting non-fatal injury data, and there have been improvements made through linking of hospital and crash databases. There is still a need, however, for agreement across all jurisdictions on a standardised definition of a 'severe injury' for NRSS reporting purposes (that is based on medical diagnosis and includes a threshold for severity).
The NSW Government noted that the need for a suitable national data series on 'serious injuries' is something that has been repeatedly acknowledged by all jurisdictions and stakeholders. It also noted that the current NRSS clearly identified a need for greater focus on 'serious injury' and the setting of a national, 'serious injury' target, and argued that:
Work should continue at a national level to identify a national serious injury dataset coupled with enabling jurisdictions to undertake their own data linkage projects. Development of a simplistic national linkage system for serious injury data in isolation may not account for nuances in data collection processes and systems among different jurisdictions, and will duplicate efforts for jurisdictions such as NSW that have already invested heavily in better understanding the nature of their serious road injuries.
In evidence, the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) addressed the issue of data collection from the perspective of engineering. It was argued that given engineers are typically concerned with clearly identifying the problem they are attempting to solve – which in this case is a reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes – a clear definition of 'serious injury' is vital. It was noted that while 'fatality' is clearly defined, 'serious injury' is not. The ARRB explained that:
We need to define the injury level that we are willing to first start out with, and say, 'Are we going to try to mitigate all injuries, from a broken toe to a serious brain injury, or are we going to focus more on the types of injuries that are the most costly in terms of harm, in terms of lifelong trauma?' It is very important – very important – to separate out these injury levels.
ARRB representatives argued that there is capacity within current systems to implement the required level of definition and improve the accuracy of data collected, and in terms of required injury data:
We would want to know what percentage of these are serious head injuries. What percentage of these are serious spinal injuries? And we can then, if we've got this holistic model, relate that back to specific vehicle types or specific vintages of vehicles or specific geographic locations. Having that picture about how, for some reason, we've got a lot of serious brain injuries happening with this particular vehicle in this particular area, means it then becomes a well-defined problem that we can attack as engineers, as a system, rather than doing what we've been doing.
Progress in relation to a definition of 'serious injury'
As the peak body for Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, Austroads submitted that Australian road safety agencies have, for some time, used numbers and rates of road deaths as the primary basis for assessing performance. Austroads also observed that as the proportion of fatalities has stabilised, there has been a significant increase in the number of vehicle crashes that result in serious injury. It was acknowledged that "mortality alone no longer constitutes sufficient evidence and indicators based on non-fatal road injuries are also required". At the same time, however, providing a nationally consistent assessment of non-fatal crashes is difficult – particularly because there is currently no universal definition of what constitutes a 'serious injury'.
Austroads advised that although most jurisdictions use some measure related to hospital admissions, the practice of determining a serious injury and level of verification of serious injury varies between jurisdictions. It was also noted that definitions, practices and verification change over time within jurisdictions and, unlike fatalities, not all road crash serious injuries will be reported, and recorded in police databases.
In evidence, Austroads advised that in 2017, researchers had initiated a key project, and had undertaken the first round of modelling which aggregated national data for fatalities and gave an estimation of serious injuries. Austroads noted the project had influenced its "response in the 2018-2020 action plan in terms of providing feedback to the federal government and how that could be structured".
Austroads indicated that, more recently, it has been involved in matching hospital records with road safety records for serious injuries. The committee was advised that:
We have a good dataset for fatalities across the country because of what the road jurisdictions collect. It’s mandatory to collect fatality information and they collect that with the police agencies. But for serious injury data there's a problem in that if we only go on road safety records it underestimates the true view of serious injuries because there's probably in the order of about 25 per cent that go unrecorded on the road network and are unlocated. The only way we get that scale of information is matching it with hospital records. So, we have been undertaking a project, along with the federal government's BITRE organisation, to collect and match that serious injury data.
Austroads advised that legislative requirements had proved a challenge to those undertaking the project. Specifically, the legislative constraints within the hospital system – particularly in terms of accessing hospital data – had slowed the project down. It was anticipated, however, that by November 2020, there would be "a national dataset for serious injury matched with jurisdictional hospital records".
The committee sought additional information from Austroads representatives regarding the specific data that would be provided in the national dataset, and the standardisation of 'serious injury':
Mr Thistlethwaite: …Can you tell us…. what actual data will be provided in that national dataset?
Mr Bobbermen: All state records, I understand, except Western Australia hospital records. There will be some estimation in that, and that's because of legislative requirements in providing records outside the state. There are some changes going on in Western Australia at the moment to allow that, but for this first version of data record we will have fatality records, which we collect very well in terms of location and the crash; serious injury records that have been collected by police in terms of location; and then there will be an extra set of records which won't necessarily have location, which are those crashes which haven't been able to be matched with location based data through the police system, which will be hospital records. It's because that's so large. A component of that is also vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians.
Mr Thistlethwaite: Will that definition of serious injury become a standard definition, and will all of the states and territories comply with that into the future?
Mr Bobbermen: At the moment, different states may have slight differences in classifying a serious injury in the hospital system – outside the road safety agency system. Through this project, we'll be influencing and getting a standard definition for the way that should be recorded in the future.
The committee was advised that, as a member of Austroads, the ORS will be provided with the dataset. In the longer term, aggregate data will also be made available to all jurisdictions (as well as the public). It was noted, however, that given this is the first time this information will be made available, decisions have yet to be made about how the information will be presented, and there are likely to be some conditions placed on its use.
The committee notes that having the appropriate data on which to make informed decisions has been a problem for some time. The committee is of the view, therefore, that appropriate data – its collection, harmonisation, evaluation and reporting – will be a vital component of the next NRSS. There have been considerable advances in the availability and collection of data over recent years, and the committee acknowledges the work that has been undertaken and the effort that has been required to obtain this level of improvement. The committee notes, however, that there are several areas which require further improvement.
The committee encourages all jurisdictions to work toward achieving consistent data collection across all states and territories. The committee also acknowledges the need for better use to be made of available data sources, improved linkage between data sources, and a greater focus on the collection of 'serious injury' data.
The committee welcomes the efforts currently being made to provide a nationally consistent assessment of non-fatal crashes, and is encouraged by the work that is being done to reach a common definition of 'serious injury'. However, serious injury reporting is a matter characterised in the NRSS Final Report as an 'embarrassment for the nation for several decades', and as such needs to be treated with the utmost priority by the Office of Road Safety.
The committee recommends the Australian Government work with the states and territories to develop a plan and timeline for the harmonisation of data, including definitions, relating to casualty crashes, road safety ratings, and speeding across the network. Such data should be published regularly.
State and territory partnership
It was argued that the ORS would have a role to play in 'harmonising' road safety across the country; which would involve closing gaps in practice among jurisdictions to lift overall standards. In addition, it would be responsible for consultation on issues where national or multi-national stakeholders are involved (and the Commonwealth is best placed to lead consultation).
In terms of a resourcing strategy for these roles, TMR suggested that there are opportunities for the Commonwealth to partner with a state or territory government when approaching specific issues. It was argued that this would have the benefit of bringing together both national and jurisdictional perspectives in policy development and implementation. As a strategy, it could also be beneficial in the case of newly emerging issues. Road safety benefits could be realised by identifying issues quickly, and implementing good practice across jurisdictions sooner.
Programs and their effectiveness
The NRSS Inquiry noted that there are a range of established programs and tools being used across the country to support Government road safety policy and implementation. Some programs – such as the Black Spot Program – have been implemented across a number of jurisdictions. There are, however, some jurisdictions which face road safety challenges unique to their specific area, and as a result, a number of jurisdictions have tailored their approach to the specific problems they face.
Black Spot Program
The committee was advised by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of Infrastructure) that the Commonwealth has allocated additional funding (through the 2019-20 Local and State Government Road Safety Package) for a number of road safety initiatives – including the Black Spot Program.
The Department of Infrastructure described the Black Spot Program as a "highly successful road safety initiative, which targets locations where crashes are occurring", and noted that since 2013-14, the Black Spot Program has provided more than $660 million for around 2 371 road safety projects. The Department of Infrastructure also advised that by funding measures such as installing traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations, research has found fatal and casualty crashes have been reduced by up to 30 per cent.
The ACRS noted that, as part of the Federal Government's 2019 Budget, an additional $550 million had been allocated for the Black Spot Program. The ACRS indicated that it is largely supportive of cost effective investment in parts of the network, and acknowledged that this program does allow for targeting of known high-risk locations. It was argued, however, that funding should be considered within a much wider set of performance management accountabilities for state and territory roads authorities. Noting that the United Nations has established safety star ratings as the method for setting infrastructure safety performance targets, the ACRS asserted that these should be included at a state-wide level in any requirements for Commonwealth funding into the road traffic system. The College has recommended that no Commonwealth funding for the national road network be allocated without publication of infrastructure safety star ratings by states and territories.
The ARRB suggested the Black Spot Program model as one that could be restructured to better align with Safe System delivery. Whilst acknowledging the value in funding the Black Spot Program, it was argued that allocating funding based on past fatal serious injury crashes "limits the potential to invest in effective and network-wide road safety improvement".
Mr David McTiernan told the committee that it is important to deal with locations where people have been killed or seriously injured, however it could be more effective:
…if we change that mix and apply a criteria which is more proactive and using something such as AusRAP, such as ANRAM, predictive. We have enough research and experience now purely looking at infrastructure to know the types of elements of a road where we can predict a crash will happen. We can apply that to a black spot style program and start to get ahead of the curve …
The committee was advised that while NSW currently receives approximately 19 per cent of national Black Spot Program funding, the state accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the national road toll. The NSW Government pointed to existing tools such as the Australian National Risk Assessment Model (ANRAM) and the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) which allow Australian road agencies to implement nationally-consistent, risk-based road assessments, and identify road sections with the highest risk of future fatal and serious injury crashes.
The NSW Government argued that funding models should be reviewed regularly, to ensure a more representative financial distribution, based on national road trauma. Specifically, it argued for a review of the national Black Spot Program criteria and funding, to "better enable risk reduction addressing known hazards". It was suggested that this would also result in an increased focus on 'proactive risk reduction' as opposed to 'reactive treatment' of crash history only.
The Department of Transport (Victoria) noted that under the current Black Spot Program, eligible 'black spot locations' must include information on whether there have been a minimum number of casualty crashes on a specific road or at a particular site. It was noted that this approach is based on a bottom-up risk assessment at locations with an established historic crash problem. It was argued that this could be considered a reactive approach to road safety risk.
It was noted that Victoria started to move away from a Black Spot approach in 2007, to a more proactive 'Grey Spot Program', with the aim of improving road safety at potentially hazardous locations (that do not meet traditional crash-based black spot criteria).
Similarly, the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) noted that as an organisation it had given considerable thought to the ways in which the criteria and methodology could be adjusted, to enable "mass action treatments to be considered within a Black Spot Program".
The committee welcomes all the contributions around the Black Spot Program. It has been a very visible, and reportedly effective program, that has received widespread support.
The committee is supportive of the evolution of the program, and would encourage the Australian Government to support states and territories to explore how the program can further develop to remain as effective as possible. This includes increase funding to rural and regional areas.
The committee recommends that the Australian Government review its Black Spot Program funding conditions and site eligibility, with a view to making it more effective in proactively detecting and treating deficiencies in road infrastructure.
The committee recommends that the Australian Government increase funding to the Black Spot Program and increase the percentage allocated to regional and remote areas.
Western Australian Government
Since 1994, WALGA has delivered the Local Government and Community Road Safety Program, known as RoadWise across that state. The aim of the program is to engage local governments and communities in actions that support and contribute to the implementation of 'Towards Zero' (Western Australia's Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020). To achieve its aim, the program supports local governments, community groups, local businesses and individuals to become involved in the community road safety network across Western Australia.
A team of regional and metropolitan based RoadWise staff assist members of the state-wide Community Road Safety Network by:
promoting participation and community ownership;
facilitating opportunities for local road safety leadership;
supporting local road safety committees;
providing access to resources and training; and
The RoadWise program is supported by local governments and funded by the Western Australian Government through the Road Trauma Trust Account (speed and red light camera fines) and the State Road Funds to Local Government Agreement (sourced from Western Australian vehicle licensing fees).
The RoadWise model, employs a team of officers (based both in Perth-metropolitan and regional areas) who aim to build the capacity of local governments and local communities; by improving individual skills, strengthening community action and empowering organisations to take responsibility for road safety. The program aims to deliver road safety initiatives which are aligned with Western Australia's Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020 – 'Towards Zero'.
Run-off Road Crash Program
Single vehicle, loss-of-control, run-off road crashes are a particular problem in regional and remote Western Australia. Between 2008 and 2012, they accounted for almost 60 per cent of all road deaths and serious injuries. In an effort to address the problem, approximately 984 kilometres of rural Western Australian roads were treated with run-off treatments under the rural Run-Off Road Crash Program. An evaluation into the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the program (including an examination of 'shoulder-widening and/or sealing' and 'audible edgelines' treatments) was then undertaken.
In evidence, WALGA concurred that a major percentage of the deaths and serious injuries that occur on rural and regional Western Australian roads are as a result of run-off road crashes. WALGA submitted that it is very difficult, however, to predict exactly which section or segment of road will be the location where a run-off road crash occurs. Executive Manager, Mr Ian Duncan, told the committee that:
I think there's quite strong evidence now emerging that mass action treatments like sealing the shoulders and installing audible edge lines and wide audible centrelines across lengths of road are really productive and positive ways of addressing that particular crash type. Those types of treatments are probably not going to be effective if we apply them to a kilometre here and a kilometre there in a spot type approach, so I guess that challenges how we identify – and I think we can identify – those priority segments of roads, which might be between two towns, and treat them as a whole rather than trying to implement a benefit-cost ratio criterion to a specific segment of that road.
It was submitted that overall, 57 rural sites (that had met the inclusion criteria of the program) reported a reduction of 35.5 per cent in run-off road crashes (of all severities). These sites also reported an 18.4 per cent reduction in run-off road casualty crashes, as well as a 25.6 per cent reduction in run-off road 'Killed or Seriously Injured' (KSI) crashes. It was noted that the program also performed well in economic terms – with the net present value (NPV) and the benefit cost ratio (BCR) across all sites estimated to be $100.2 million and 2.1 respectively.
The NSW Government advised that the fatality rate in metropolitan NSW is currently 2.2 fatalities per 100 000 people. In comparison, in regional NSW, the rate is currently 8.5 fatalities per 100 000 people – approximately four times higher than metropolitan NSW. It was submitted that the greater distances, and the limited access to public transport are two key reasons the NSW Government has chosen to focus on regional road safety strategies.
It was noted that residents in NSW regional areas travel greater distances on roads with a lower standard of safety structure, (including unsealed and winding roads). They also face hazards not generally experienced in metropolitan areas (including wildlife, flooding and bushfires). It was submitted that "these unique challenges, and the disproportionate representation of regional communities in road trauma statistics" has required a tailored approach to improving road safety outcomes.
Safer Roads Program
During the 2018-19 financial year, the Safer Roads Program delivered route based projects under what was a targeted road safety infrastructure program. Under the program, a wide centreline was installed on the New England Highway (between Uralla and Armidale). A start was also made on the installation of a median barrier on the Mitchell Highway (between Bathurst and Orange). In addition, a number of other improvements were made on regional roads, including the installation of 113 kilometres of safety barriers, 3 000 kilometres of rumble strips and 22 kilometres of motorcycle underrun (to prevent run off road and head on crashes).
Saving Lives on Country Roads Program
From July 2018, the NSW Government proposed an investment of $640 million toward 'Saving Lives on Country Roads' infrastructure safety upgrades. It also estimated a $182 million spend on 'Liveable and Safe Urban Communities' infrastructure safety upgrades, which aim to better protect vulnerable road users – including cyclists and pedestrians. During the 2018-19 financial year, 123 projects were completed under the Saving Lives on Country Roads Program, and 199 were under construction.
An education campaign was also launched as part of the Program in November 2017. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of road trauma in NSW country areas, and encourages country drivers to "re-think the common excuses used to justify unsafe behaviour on the road and make safe, positive choices to reduce their risk on the road".
The NSW Government noted the education campaign had been well-received "with regional drivers who had seen it indicating that they were personally committed to following the road rules and driving safely". The committee were also advised that, as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government had undertaken a complete, independent review of its advertising programs "to ensure that they are supporting the sorts of behaviours and outcomes that lead to people reducing their risk on the road". Noting that the evaluations had been largely positive, Mr Bernard Carlon, Transport for NSW (NSW Government) advised that in terms of evaluation:
Right across the board, our campaigns are continuously evaluated to ensure that they're supporting the sorts of behaviours and maintaining the level of awareness that's necessary to reduce the road toll over the longer term. Importantly, when we've seen the research internationally, I think the longer term campaigns of strategies which evolve over time have actually been very successful.
Victoria introduced the Safe Roads Program, which involves sites being identified and prioritised on the basis of their crash history and potential crash risk. This approach, it was argued, demonstrates better alignment with the Safe System philosophy.
It was submitted that Victoria's approach "has been proven to save lives, with evaluations of Victorian road safety infrastructure programs demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach". Further, it was argued that:
The recommended approach to identifying and prioritising problem locations should follow Austroads report (AP-R562-18) to move beyond black spot analysis and consider road characteristics and traffic volumes in addition to crash histories to predict where future crashes are likely to occur. Using crash models to create site specific estimates of crashes is central to the best practice approach of identifying problem locations. Under these criteria, problem locations can still be nominated by all levels of government, community groups and associations, industry and individuals. More rigour can then be applied to help prioritise and allocate program funding according to risk.
The NRSS Inquiry Report noted that there are a range of established programs and tools being used to support Commonwealth road safety policy and implementation. The committee is of the view that partnerships between the Commonwealth and states and territories, and between jurisdictions can benefit all parties, by coordinating national and jurisdictional perspectives in relation to policy development and implementation.
The Office of Road Safety is best placed to collate and disseminate program evaluations for the benefit of all states and territories and local governments.
As the owners of an extensive road network, local governments play an important role in road safety. Local governments manage approximately 82 per cent of the road network in Australia, and it has been estimated that more than 50 per cent of all casualty crashes, and 40 per cent of all road deaths, occur on local roads. This means that driving on a local road involves an increased risk of being seriously injured – around 1.5 times higher than driving on a state road.
Local government organisations pointed to the influence local government have on the design of the road transport system, and argued that recognition of, and support for, local government is key to developing partnerships which progress improvements in road safety. WALGA's submission included the following recommendation:
Develop authentic partnership arrangements built on a common vision and goals, with appropriate resources (knowledge, funding, skills, data, etc) that enables Local Governments to participate fully and effectively in their role to reduce road trauma.
TMR submitted that addressing road safety issues in remote and regional Australia will require all levels of government to work together – particularly with local government. It was argued that, given "the majority of the road network is controlled by local governments, unless they are part of the solution, further reductions in road trauma in remote and regional areas will remain a challenge".
In the case of Western Australia, it is estimated that, collectively, local governments manage 88 per cent of the Western Australian road network. Given that local roads are where almost two thirds of crashes occur, local governments see themselves as being in a position to have a significant influence on road safety outcomes. As noted above, the Western Australian Government supports local governments by providing funding through the Road Trauma Trust Account and the State Road Funds to Local Government Agreement.
The IPWEA pointed to figures Australian Bureau of Statistics' figures which indicate that in 2016-17, local government had a total income of approximately $45 billion. It was noted that this figure is "dwarfed by the $345 billion in fixed assets it needs to manage and maintain", particularly given the greatest proportion of local government infrastructure, by value, is roads.
The IPWEA noted that two thirds of Australia's local councils have a population of less than 30 000, which means that the resource capacity of most local governments is constrained. Additionally, IPWEA observed that while local government "has the greatest burden in reducing all road crashes" it tends to receive less funding, and has limited access to people who have much needed skills in areas such as engineering and project management.
The AAA argued that deliberations around the development of a new NRSS, provide an opportunity to better engage local government in road safety. The AAA acknowledged that local governments face barriers such as limited resources and a poor understanding of Safe System principles. Local governments are also frequently restricted by legacy infrastructure. It was argued that the Commonwealth can support local governments in their efforts to achieve improved road safety with better training, resource support and an improved approach to government funding. Local governments should also "be encouraged to look beyond their own individual agendas, towards adopting a more consistent, national vision for road safety".
This view was shared by representatives from the ARRB which argued that there is a need to improve the skills and capabilities of the practitioners developing our road networks. National Leader, David McTiernan noted that through his involvement with local government, he is aware there are limitations to the ways in which an engineer can develop their understanding and skills in relation to road safety.
ARRB submitted that in the past, road infrastructure designers and managers – the engineers and technicians who are responsible for the nation's road network – gained their road safety knowledge 'on the job'. It was argued that raising the level of expertise in relation to road safety would require future engineers – those who are developing new infrastructure to address improved mobility, transport efficiency and road safety performance – to study road safety as part of their undergraduate degree.
It was noted that continuing professional development training in road safety is also frequently disjointed, and there are limited pathways which allow practitioners to build their expertise. The ARRB argued that:
…if we continue with the state system approach, it needs to be embedded at the undergraduate level, not just within engineering but with town planners and others who have a direct impact professionally on road infrastructure. It also needs to be provided at a postgraduate level either as formal courses or certainly as continuing professional development and engaging, as I said, not just the road managers but the consulting fraternity, and making the development community aware of their contribution.
The committee acknowledges the influence that local government jurisdictions can have on the design of the road transport system, and note that as the owners of an extensive road network, local governments can play an important role in road safety.
The committee acknowledges the valuable work undertaken by Crozier and Woolley, and agrees with their submission that an agreed strategic response to road safety will be a vital element in the new NRSS. The committee also agrees that Commonwealth, state and territory, local government, industry, the private sector and key road safety stakeholders will need to work together to support systematic change – and become part of the solution.
The committee is strongly of the view that road safety is not simply a road transport problem. A range of factors – including social, economic, health, infrastructure and education – can also have an impact on achieving improved safety.
The committee recommends that the Australian Government works with states and territories and local government to ensure that all existing road safety programs are designed to implement Safe System principles across all government policy areas, including health and education.
The committee recommends that the commonwealth works with states and territories to ensure that funding avenues are identified that specifically support local councils to attract and retain the relevant skills and expertise required for development of all aspects of road safety policy, infrastructure and maintenance.