darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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August 22, 2013

Investing in local roads and supported training for learner drivers are the key platforms of The Nationals policy for road safety according to Federal Member for Gippsland and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport, Darren Chester.

Mr Chester helped launch the policy today which will see The Nationals continue the Roads to Recovery program it initiated in the previous Coalition Government to help councils maintain and repair local roads.

He said the policy includes $10 million to support the ‘Keys2Drive’ Program which will target the driving skills of young people who continue to feature disproportionately in deadly accidents.

“Nearly one third of all fatalities on our roads are young people aged between 16 and 25, despite the fact they only represent 15 per cent of the population,” Mr Chester said.

“We have made progress in reducing the national road toll but there is still too much trauma on our roads, particularly in regional areas like Gippsland.”

Mr Chester said the Department of Infrastructure and Transport estimated the cost of road crashes in Australia at $27 billion per year.

“There’s a need for national leadership with a renewed focus on safer roads, safer drivers and safer cars,” Mr Chester said.

“We shouldn’t accept road accidents as inevitable. We can do better and we must do better to reduce the social and economic cost of road trauma across Australia.”

Mr Chester said a growing number of commuting cyclists would benefit from plans to work with State and Territory governments to ensure that cycling infrastructure, training and information is available.

The Coalition’s Policy to Improve Road Safety includes:

* $10 million to support the ‘Keys2Drive’ Programme; * Continuation of the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot programs; * Recognition of road safety for cyclists as a priority; * A review into the full impacts of road trauma by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) and; * Support for the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) star safety rating system and encouragement to purchase safer cars.

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