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Road Safety Underfunded While MAIB Gives $144M in Dividends

1 Dec 2015

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson

The Liberals in government have presided over a significant decline in the number of random breath tests and speed camera hours and an increase in road fatalities and serious injuries, but are making no commitment to allocate any of the massive $144million in dividends from MAIB to increased road safety funding.

While the MAIB's other shareholder Minister - the Treasurer - was not at the GBE table today to justify such an unprecedented dividend to government, Infrastructure Minister Hidding had some explaining to do.

In 2013-14, Tasmania Police conducted 551 444 roadside breath tests but in the following financial year, 475 510 breath tests were undertaken - a fall of almost 78 000 random breath tests in a year.

In the same period, speed camera operating hours fell from 17 078 hours to 13 965, a decline of just over 3000 hours.

Road fatalities have increased by 7.7% and serious injuries by 13.3% this year to date compared to previous years, yet MAIB funding to the Road Safety Advisory Council remains relatively static.

What we are seeing in these statistics is deeply confronting and a challenge to government.

With road safety demonstrably not improving, the Liberals in government have a moral responsibility to dip in to the $144 million dividend sitting in the Treasurer's vault, to increase road safety funding.

Given the alarming road safety statistics and the substantial increase in revenue from MAIB in dividends, the government has no choice but to invest more in saving the lives of Tasmanian road users.