QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE | ROAD SAFETY

Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan)- Thank you, President. Again I join in congratulating you on your election. My question is for the Minister for Road Safety and the TAC. Minister, can you please outline what is being done over this Christmas-New Year period to make sure that everyone stays safe on our roads?

19 December 2019

Response

Ms Pulford  (Western Victoria—Minister for Roads, Minister for Road Safety and the TAC, Minister for Fishing and Boating) – Thank you, President, and congratulations on your new role. I thank Mr Melhem for his question. I take the opportunity to welcome to the chamber our new colleagues and to welcome back to the chamber returning members. I look forward to working with you over the coming four years. I thank Mr Melhem for his question on the very, very important matter of road safety. There are 204 Victorians who have lost their lives on our roads already this year. As we find ourselves here, on the last sitting day of the year and the first of this Parliament, on 19 December, the minds of most people in the Victorian community are probably less on the matters going on in the Victorian Parliament today and more on their Christmas shopping lists, their catering plans, their arrangements for holidays and furiously trying to get everything done that they have to get done at work and in all other aspects of their lives. It is a crazy, busy, frantic time of the year for many of us. There is a lot of distraction, and it can be a particularly dangerous time of the year on the roads. It is also a really important time of the year when lots of people do take leave and do get to spend more time with their families and with their loved ones. For the families and friends of those 204 people who have lost their lives on our roads there will be an empty space at their table, and that is an incredibly difficult and heartbreaking thing. Our commitment to road safety is a significant one. I am incredibly conscious that as a very new Minister for Road Safety and the TAC I follow in the steps of many who have had responsibilities in these areas before me and who have contributed to Victoria’s reputation over decades in world’s best practice in terms of the reduction in our road toll and support for people who are injured or indeed for those who are surviving family members of those who have been killed on our roads. I take the opportunity to pay credit to my predecessor in this work, Luke Donnellan, and Robin Scott had responsibility for parts of this role as well. Luke in his role as Minister for Roads and Road Safety, coming from opposition to government, was the first to set a target in terms of reducing our road toll, and he has undertaken some terrific work that I am very much looking forward to building on. Our road toll at this point in the year is lower than it was this time last year, and in large part this is the result of a reduction in fatalities of drivers on country roads. Particularly at this time of the year we are very conscious of the need to be reminding the community to slow down, to not drink and drive, to not take drugs and drive and really to be mindful and aware drivers and to employ the best possible practice that they can. So there will be TAC road safety teams at all manner of events through the summer. We have launched in recent weeks the Christmas road safety campaign, which is all about not being the person that causes your loved one to receive that horrible knock on the door from police. There is a campaign that the TAC is running around ribbons to tie around your wrist to remind you to slow down. I have some, and I will circulate them around the chamber a bit later this afternoon. I would also just take the opportunity to pay tribute to Martin Wrangle, a man that I met a couple of weeks ago who gives his time and part of his soul to contributing to our road safety message. He lost his son Trevor 14 years ago. When we launched the road safety campaign together, 14 years after losing his beautiful son Trevor, the pain of that loss was still raw. The work that Martin contributes to our community in promoting our road safety message is an enormous credit to him and to his family.

19 December 2019