ADJOURNMENT & RESPONSE | ROADWORKS SPEED LIMITS
Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Honourable Luke Donnellan. It is in relation to speed limits on road construction sites. As we know, road workers put themselves at risk from time to time in building our infrastructure projects. We know there are road rules when construction is taking place on our roads. For example, on a major freeway, the speed limit will go from 100 kilometres per hour to 80 kilometres per hour if workers are working behind barriers to make sure they are safe, but when there are no barriers the speed limit will go down to 60 kilometres per hour or 40 kilometres per hour. The purpose of that is to protect these workers and also to protect motorists.
Unfortunately in recent times I have noticed when travelling on these roads that when no work is being carried out some lazy contractors or construction companies have forgotten or have not made the effort to change the speed limit back to 60 or 80 kilometres per hour, as the traffic plans require them to. As a result, motorists get frustrated with the process when they are travelling on a road where the speed limit is normally 100 kilometres per hour. If there are no barriers or if there is no work being carried out or it is after hours, the speed limit normally goes down to 60 or 80 kilometres per hour. When they approach a speed sign of 40 kilometres per hour they tend to ignore it on the basis that no construction is taking place. The problem is that that habit could develop over time and when work is actually taking place motorists will ignore the speed limit because lazy contractors, in my view, have failed to do their duty and put the speed limit back to what it is supposed to be — 60 or 80 kilometres per hour.
The action I seek is that the minister investigate various options to put a requirement in contracts, for example, for these construction companies to adhere to the speed limits as per the traffic plan they would have put in to VicRoads. He could go as far as maybe exploring some legislative changes to make sure that the requirement to change the speed limits can be enforced and be made part of the contract and part of the performance of the contractor to protect both the workers on the construction sites and motorists. My understanding is that South Australia has some sort of legislation in place which makes it mandatory for construction companies to change the speed limit when work is being carried out by reducing it from 100 kilometres per hour to 40 kilometres per hour, but when work is not being carried out they should put it back to 60 kilometres per hour or 80 kilometres per hour, whichever the case may be. The action I seek is for the minister to explore all these options to make sure our roads are safe for both motorists and road construction workers.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Ramsay) — Thank you, Mr Melhem. I must say I got a little confused. You are seeking an action for an investigation into road speed limits — was that the crux of it?
Mr MELHEM — Yes. The action I seek is that the minister explore options to make sure that construction companies implement traffic plans or put traffic control planning in place, as agreed with VicRoads; make sure that these are enforced in contracts; and look at legislative requirements to make sure that is enforceable.
21 June 2018