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MAV calls for increased road safety funding ahead of Road Safety Week

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is calling on the Victorian and Australian governments to better fund councils to deliver safety improvements on local streets and roads, ahead of Road Safety Week.

Victorian councils are responsible for 87 per cent of the state’s road network. We have a clear understanding that adequate funding is needed to deliver safer journeys for both drivers and vulnerable road users, such as walkers and bike riders.

The MAV welcomed this week’s Federal Budget announcement of a significant nationwide boost to local government community infrastructure and road projects, via the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. This is an important investment for new projects yet  councils will still require ongoing support to reduce the growing asset renewal gap.

The MAV has also been working with councils across the state to advocate for improved walking and bike riding infrastructure, such as separated bike lanes and reduced speed limits in high pedestrian areas.

MAV President, Cr David Clark, said Victorian councils urgently need more funding to deliver safer journeys for all road users.

“According to Victorian councils we recently surveyed, 90 per cent are planning improved walking infrastructure and 83 per cent are planning improved bike riding infrastructure. Unfortunately, 83 per cent identify funding as a critical barrier that needs the urgent attention of the Victorian and Australian governments,” said Cr Clark.

“The MAV is pleased to be part of a group of 13 walking, bike riding, transport, health and research organisations urging the Victorian Government to make it easier and safer for people to walk and ride. The organisations’ joint consensus statement highlights how an investment of $500 million in walking and bike riding would return a value of $6.5 billion to the Victorian community.”

The MAV is also advocating for improved funding for safety upgrades on regional roads, with rural and regional communities over-represented in the number of fatalities.

“In 2020, 126 people died on regional Victorian roads, compared with 85 fatalities in metropolitan areas. Councils across the State constantly tell us that more funding is needed for the basics like road maintenance and safety upgrades,” Cr Clark said.

"Local government is responsible for maintaining 87 per cent of Victoria's road network. With the current financial limitations on councils, we can't be burdened with this cost alone, without cutting other essential local services.

"This is particularly crucial in the rural and regional areas of the State where no other transport options exist.

“In regional communities like the Pyrenees Shire, we know that increased road funding and targeted blackspot funding will reduce the terrible toll of road trauma on local communities.”

Road Safety Week runs from Sunday 16 to Sunday 23 May and aims to highlight the impact of road trauma and the ways to reduce it.

The MAV will run a social media campaign in support of Road Safety Week across its social media channels (@VicCouncils on Twitter, and Municipal Association of Victoria on LinkedIn).

For further information, contact the MAV Communications Unit on (03) 9667 5590.