As COVID-19 restrictions ease and Australians’ minds turn to long-awaited travel over the upcoming festive season, the Australian Government is urging people to drive safely.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said these holidays are the first chance for many Australians to reconnect with loved ones, friends and even their homes, and it’s on all of us to promote road safety to ensure no one is missing at those reunions.

“One injury, one death is one too many – no family should have to endure the loss of a loved one on our roads,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Everyone can play their part to keep themselves and those around them safe on our roads, such as by planning ahead, taking their time, sharing the driving, stopping to rest and recover, and remaining aware of the conditions.

“Our Government is also playing a vital role in road safety, with record funding flowing through initiatives such as our $3 billion Road Safety Program to deliver the safe and efficient road infrastructure Australians need and deserve.

“Almost $1 billion has been delivered for around 700 road safety projects nationwide under Tranche 1 of the program, another $500 million worth of projects underway thanks to Tranche 2, and more to get announced in the start of the new year.

“Five, six-month funding tranches mean states and territories are rolling out road upgrades as quickly as possible, saving lives sooner.

“Rumble strips, road upgrades, flexible safety barriers, level crossing safety improvements and centre line treatments are just some of the works already delivered or underway, meaning many motorists and their passengers will reap the safety benefits and notice the difference these holidays.

“This is just one of the ways the Government is working reduce the number of Australians missing around the dinner table due to tragedies on our roads.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the most important thing these holidays is everyone arriving and returning safely at the end of each trip.

“Whether it’s a short trip to the local beach, an interstate roady to one of our sunny coasts, or one of our truckies pulling a long haul to deliver last-minute presents or fresh produce for Christmas lunches, each trip matters and every one of us deserves to make it back safe and sound,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.

“That’s why our Government continues to ramp up its road safety commitments, as part of our broader ambition to achieve Vision Zero – that is no road deaths or injuries occurring on Australian roads by 2050.

“The Road Safety Program will continue to make an impact, delivering lifesaving road safety treatments on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users over the next few years.

“State highways and arterial roads will continue to receive safety treatments including shoulder sealing and rumble strip installation to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane, physical barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes, and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions.

“Vulnerable road users, like cyclists and pedestrians, in urban areas will be see greater protections thanks to safety upgrades including traffic calming, separated cycle-ways, and raised pedestrian crossings.

“We’ve also got more than 500 projects already delivered or well underway across the nation thanks to the Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programs, while over 400 projects have been completed under the Black Spot Program in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years alone.

“Our Office of Road Safety continues to provide national leadership to improve road safety outcomes, delivering critical initiatives like the $8 million Driver Reviver Site Upgrades program to tackle driver fatigue and working closely with states, territories, local governments and industry to develop and implement the new 2021–30 National Road Safety Strategy.

“But these initiatives only succeed with the support of every driver, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian each and every time they venture out on the road, which is why I implore everyone to drive safely and keep road safety front of mind at all times, so we can all have a fantastic and road fatality-free break this festive season.”

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