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May’s Federal Budget provided a welcome boost to infrastructure
that will give regional NSW economic and social opportunities.
I commend the focus on transport, with a $10 billion investment
in a National Rail program and a new $472 million Regional
Growth Fund to support critical infrastructure and investments.
The centrepiece was a commitment to build inland rail –
a project that has been decades in the planning and has the
potential to transform regional NSW. It will improve supply chain
efficiency, boost economic growth and deliver enormous benefits
to inland hubs such as Parkes and Albury. In addition, it will create
employment throughout Western NSW during its construction.
Inland rail will also be a win for road safety. It’s particularly
good news for communities in the state’s west, where the roads
are subject to a great deal of freight traffic.
This project has the potential to reduce the cost of transport for
agriculture and other key rural industries by providing better
access to a range of ports, and therefore encouraging competition.
The Federal Government has also allocated $167.3 million
over the forward estimates to continue upgrading the New
England, Princes, Mitchell and Newell highways as part of the
Regional Road Freight Corridor program. This is something
the NRMA championed in its pre-Budget engagement
with the Government.
Also important is the Federal Government’s future plans to buy
some or all of NSW and Victoria’s stakes in the Snowy Hydro
power company, with a view to expanding the scheme to include
new forms of electricity generation.
If the sale goes ahead, the NRMA supports the proceeds being
allocated to building roads, hospitals, schools and water security
infrastructure in regional NSW. This would go some way to
addressing the backlog of local road projects that are needed to
secure the long-term future of regional communities, particularly
in the context of an overall reduction in road funding.
THE RAILROAD TO REGIONAL PROSPERITY
The hidden costs of serious crashes
Funding for road
upgrades is an
investment in our
THE LATEST edition of the
NRMA’s Cost of Crashes report
makes sobering reading for road
users across NSW.
Between 2011 and 2015, car-
related fatalities and casualties
cost the NSW economy $35.7
billion. That is an extraordinary
figure, especially when you
consider that it represents an
eight per cent drop compared to
the previous report in 2012 and
was driven by a 20 per cent
decrease in the number of lives
lost on the state’s roads.
But the worst news is that over
the same period, serious injuries
increased 4.6 per cent to 61,130, at
a total cost to the community of
almost $18 billion.
The human toll is obviously of
greater concern than the financial
impact, but both factors are
critical for our future wellbeing.
While the number of lives lost
across all areas of NSW fell, the
Cost of Crashes report found that
in key geographical areas there
were increases in serious injuries.
Sydney’s west recorded a 23 per
cent increase that cost $2.25
billion, Sydney’s north saw a 14 per
cent increase that added up to
$852 million, and far western NSW
experienced a nine per cent
increase at a cost of $38 million.
To help reverse this trend, the
NRMA and its sister clubs across
the nation have called on the
Australian Government to fund a
number of important programs in
the Federal Budget.
Key demands include funding for
Sydney’s missing-link motorways,
including SouthConnex and the
Northern Beaches Transport
Corridor, increased funding for the
Blackspot program, and upgrades
to regional highways and public
transport services across NSW
and the ACT.
Pleasingly, the report found the
number of lives lost on the Princes,
Pacific, Newell, Hume and Sturt
highways from 2011-2015 had
decreased by one-third compared
But with the NSW road toll
increasing over consecutive years,
the need for more action and
investment is greater than ever.
KYLE LOADES Chairman
Serious injuries from
car crashes cost NSW
almost $18 billion.
19/6/17 3:39 pm
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