McGowan labels the Wheatbelt as worst for road toll

Premier Mark McGowan has labelled the Wheatbelt’s death toll as the highest of any region in Australia during a visit to area last week. 

 The visit coincided with the State Government’s announcement of a $20 million investment into upgrading dangerous roads through the 2018-19 Black Spot and Safer Roads program and $28.4 million into the WA Safer Roads Program.

During a sit down with the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate Mr McGowan said improving roads is one factor to decrease road fatality numbers in the region.

“The Wheatbelt has one of the highest death tolls, if not the highest of any region in Australia and making sure we improve the safety of our country roads is an important focus of our Royalties for Regions spend but also our spend under the Main Roads budget,” he said. 

“We’ve been working effectively with local governments to do that. 

“The roads safety initiatives are a very important part of our visit.

“I want to emphasis that it the record spend on regional roads is about saving lives and improving productivity and also reducing injuries.”

As of October 9 there have been 76 deaths on regional West Australian roads, accounting for 60 percent of road fatalities in the state.

From 2012-2016 964 people were killed or seriously injured in the Wheatbelt region with 72 percent of fatal and serious crashes occurring in 110 km/h speed zones.

Mr McGowan said despite improving roads there are other initiates that have been put in place to target the issue.

“Improving the roads makes a difference,” he said.

“We’ve also put in place the Regional Enforcement Unit that are officers dedicated to enforcing the law on regional roads. 

“That has been rolling out across regional WA because we are very keen to stop losing lives because too many families are devastated by it. 

“It does also require an attitude change. 

“Some people need to get the message and you need to continually hammer it home. T

“The message is you need to be respectful and careful when you drive on the roads.

“You need to change your attitude because some people don’t seem to get it. 

“Like we did with the anti-smoking campaigns you need to change your attitude over time.”