Road funding is too hard to access, MP Tony Pasin says
The federal Member for Barker has put forward a motion that requests easier local government access to Black Spot Safety Program federal funding for better roads.
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Local governments need better access to Black Spot Road Safety Program funding, federal MP Tony Pasin says.
In Canberra this week, Mr Pasin acknowledged the importance of the Black Spot Road Safety Program, a federal government program to target road locations where crashes are occurring or at risk of occurring.
The program reduces the risk of road crashes by funding measures such as traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations.
Mr Pasin said that two-thirds of all road fatalities occur on rural roads and that local governments manage 77 per cent of the national road network.
However, he said that “many of these councils simply don’t have the resources to make very detailed and involved applications for funding under the Black Spot Program”.
As a result, Mr Pasin called on the government to make the application guidelines easier for councils to navigate.
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Mr Pasin also said that in South Australia, there’s been an underspend of $2.9 million in the current funding round for the Black Spot Program.
“In circumstances where we’re seeing road deaths increasing disproportionately ... you’d have to start asking yourself the question: Why?” he said.
Mr Pasin argued that the reason for the discrepancy, based on feedback he’s received, is that “this program is just too difficult to make an application to”.
“So what I want to see is a simplification of this program, in particular, how applications are made, so that we can get all of the funding out the door,” he said.
“I don’t want to see significant underspends.”
In response to the motion, Labor’s Luke Gosling focused on the positives of the program, particularly what he described as the “incalculable value” of the lives that were saved by it.
“As of 2012, there were 1600 blackspot projects around Australia, each preventing, on average, 1.7 car crashes,” he said.
“Even with a conservative estimate of two people involved in a car crash, that is over 5000 people saved from grave injury or death across these projects.”
Nevertheless, Mr Gosling did acknowledge Mr Pasin’s point about making applications for the program easier.
“We should always continue to work to make sure that programs such as this are as user friendly as possible so that we can get the best results out of them,” Mr Gosling said.