The New South Wales Government will be hosting a road safety forum on 22 February, which will be attended by Australian and international road safety experts, motorist and road traffic victim advocates, academics, as well as federal and state stakeholders.
The State Government is hosting the forum in Sydney to lead the conversation on how to address the road toll, which has risen across Australian jurisdictions as traffic volumes have rebounded following COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
The forum will be the first time in the state’s history that experts from interstate and around the world will be brought together to tackle the issue of deaths on roads. It will take advice from Scandinavian countries that have succeeded in reducing road fatalities over the last 20 years.
There will be a particular focus on preventing regional road fatalities. A third of the New South Wales population resides in regional areas, but two thirds of the state’s road fatalities take place in the regions, including urban centres in regional areas.
Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Carol Brown, will attend to provide a federal perspective
The New South Wales Government has said that it is keen to increase cooperation between the states and territories on this shared challenge.
The State Government is inviting the state opposition and members of the crossbench to be part of the forum, to be hosted by Transport for NSW.
New South Wales Minister for Roads, John Graham, said that the State Government is focused on improving road safety and making sure everyone gets home to their loved ones every time.
“The road toll has increased across Australia and many parts of the world after Covid,” Minister Graham said.
“This forum is an opportunity to hear from experts who have had some success in reducing the road toll and identify new measures and actions from the Road Safety Plan that could be accelerated.
“In 2023, New South Wales experienced the tragic loss of 351 lives on our roads. The State Government is issuing a resounding call for every individual to make safe driving a resolution in 2024.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility that requires the collective efforts of government agencies, communities, and individuals. The forum will provide a platform to discuss new actions to save lives.”
New South Wales Minister for Regional Roads, Jenny Aitchison, said that she has been out in the far north-west of regional, rural and remote New South Wales hearing directly from communities about the road toll.
“Any death on a road is one too many but for regional communities where everyone knows everyone, it hits particularly hard,” Minister Aithison said.
“We all need to take responsibility for our actions when it comes to road safety. We need community involvement, particularly in the regions, if the government’s road safety initiatives are to succeed.
“I hope regional leaders will participate in the forum to share their experiences and work with the government to find solutions to road safety issues.
“The forum will include discussion of how we can strengthen road safety enforcement and tackle unsafe road user behaviour.”
New South Wales Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Carol Brown, said that road safety is everyone’s responsibility – from local, state and territory governments as well as the Federal Government and individual road users.
“I look forward to the discussions held at the forum and how the outcomes can be carried through to the National Road Safety Conference shortly after,” Minister Brown said.
“The National Road Safety Conference has been convened to bring together road safety ministers and police ministers from across the country to engage on the worrying trends we are seeing on our roads.”