The state minister for roads and road safety has come under attack after the state government cut a number of road safety measures while the road toll skyrockets.
The opposition rural roads spokeswoman and member for South West Coast, Roma Britnell, said Jaala Pulford was under fire during the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings this week.
Mrs Britnell said the latest road toll statistics showed 147 lives had been tragically lost in 2019, up 54.7 per cent on last year.
"In regional and rural Victoria the road toll has increased 71 per cent," she said.
Mrs Britnell said ehe state budget detailed that the Andrews Government had:
- Cut the number of alcohol screening tests conducted by 400,000 tests;
- Failed to increase the number of drug tests conducted, despite evidence which suggests that drugs are a large contributor to the road toll;
- Cut regional road maintenance for Victoria's major local roads including non-arterial state roads, minor roads and local regional roads;
- Reduced the benchmark standards for regional roads to meet cracking standards, which leads to potholes and poor road quality;
- Cut $47.2 million from the existing Road Safety Strategy 2013-2022 over the past year;
- Delayed improvements works on major arterial roads, such as Great Alpine Road, Hyland Highway Road and the South Gippsland Highway by a further year; and
- Proposed to discontinue reporting on the measure of "drivers tested who comply with alcohol limits", which reduces the transparency of the success or otherwise of Victoria's alcohol and drug testing.
Mrs Britnell said the cuts to funding and programs for road safety come at the same time revenue from speed cameras was expected to increase from $390 million per year in 2018-19 to $529 million per year by 2022-23 and $2.9 billion was to be raided from the Transport Accident Commision in dividends.
"When we have a growing road toll it beggars belief that the Andrews Labor Government continues to cut services and funding that contradicts the efforts of Victoria's Towards Zero campaign," she said.
"Daniel Andrews likes to say 'this saves lives' but the actions of his government to cut services and funding is actually putting further Victorian lives at risk when our road toll is already so high."
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