October 1, 2017

State Government cuts more funding from road safety initiatives

The State Government will divert up to $1.6 million dollars away from road safety campaigns and initiatives over the next two years to help fund its newly repurposed Department of Transport.

Acting Opposition Leader and Shadow Transport Minister Liza Harvey said today that answers to question put on notice from Budget Estimate hearings had revealed the funds would be stripped from the Road Trauma Trust Account to cover “corporate overhead” costs in the new DOT.

Mrs Harvey said the RTTA was set up by the former Liberal Government in 2012 to capture all revenue from speed and red-light camera fines, with the money to be used exclusively to save lives and prevent injury.

“Under the previous Government the department was restricted to recovering only the cost of processing the fines, which in 2016/17 was $1.65 million,” Mrs Harvey said.

“In estimate hearings I asked the Minister why the budgeted amount for this cost had increased to $2.41 million in 2017/18 and $2.5 million in 2018/2019 and whether it was due to an expected increase in the number of fines.

“The Minister could not say, however the department has since explained the budget now includes DOT corporate overhead costs not previously included.”

Shadow Police Minister Peter Katsambanis said the latest raid on the RTTA was further confirmation that road safety had no priority in the McGowan Government.

“The Police Minister has already admitted the McGowan Government will tap the RTTA to fund its new WA Police regional enforcement unit and also that funding cuts will mean 300,000 fewer West Australian drivers are breath tested,” Mr Katsambanis said.

“The Police Minister needs to get in and fight to keep the RTTA funds for the purpose they were intended, saving lives, not paying for letterheads for rebadged government departments.”

Mr Katsambanis said the last Labor Government in WA had an appalling record on road safety and the McGowan Government looked set to repeat history.

“In 2007, the then Labor Government committed just $17 million in road safety funding and left the State with a per capita fatality rate of 11.2, by 2015 the Liberal Government had reduced that rate to 6.2 and in 2016 committed a record $146 million to reduce road trauma in WA,” he said.

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