Fixing the black spots on Australia’s roads

Article image - Fixing the black spots on Australia’s roads

The Australian Government will spend $345 million over six years to fix about 2,300 dangerous locations on Australia’s roads. The extra spending will save lives and reduce the number of road accidents.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, made the announcement in Sydney on 4 April 2007.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government would provide the extra funding under the AusLink Black Spot programme, which was originally scheduled to end in June 2008. As a result of this announcement, the programme will continue until at least June 2014, with a 33 per cent increase in funding from 2009–10.

The Government is currently spending $45 million a year under the Black Spot programme to fund safety works such as roundabouts, crash barriers, and street lights at places where there have been serious crashes or where serious crashes are likely.

By June 2008, it will have fixed 4,200 road hazards around Australia. It is estimated that it will have saved at least 130 lives and prevented around 6,000 serious crashes.

The current annual level of funding of $45 million will continue until June 2009 and then increase to $60 million a year from 2009–10 to 2013–14 under the next stage of the national transport plan, AusLink 2.

About half the total funding will be allocated to regional areas because of the large number of accidents on country roads.

The Deputy Prime Minister will be making more announcements about AusLink 2 over the next few months. It will be the biggest investment in land transport that has ever been made by an Australian Government, made possible because of Australia’s strong economic and financial position.

The funding under the Black Spot programme is allocated to the States and Territories based on their population and number of casualty crashes. These funding shares were last calculated in 2002. They will be recalculated at the start of 2009–10 to use the most up to date figures available.

All the States and Territories will be better off because of the 33 per cent increase in the overall funding for the programme.

Key points about the AusLink Black Spot programme

  • The AusLink Black Spot programme funds safety improvements at road locations that have a proven crash history or locations where a road safety audit has identified a safety deficiency that is likely to cause crashes.
  • The Government is currently investing $45 million per year in the programme, which funds more than 300 projects per year. It is estimated that the Black Spot Programme will have saved at least 130 lives and prevented around 6,000 serious crashes by June 2008.
  • Each State and Territory receives a share of the total funding of the programme based on their population and number of casualty crashes.
  • Black Spot funding is available for dangerous locations on State, Territory and local roads. Roads on the AusLink national network are handled separately. About half the Black Spot funding is spent on projects in regional areas, because of the high level of accidents on country roads.
  • Anyone can nominate a black spot for funding. The nominations are assessed by independent committees, which include Australian, State Territory and Local Government representatives, the police and road user groups.

The State/Territory shares were last updated in 2002 and are shown in the table below:

Funding per year $m
(existing programme)
New South Wales
14.3
Victoria
10.4
Queensland
8.9
Western Australia
5.0
South Australia
3.5
Tasmania
1.1
Northern Territory
0.7
ACT
0.6
Administration and evaluation
0.5
Total
45.0