The Australian Government will triple its funding commitment to the national Black Spot Program to $160 million per year from 2015-16, with at least 50% of the money to be allocated to regional roads over the first two years.
Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston today welcomed announcement and urged regional South Australian councils to identify potential projects and apply for the funding when it becomes available.
"This is an excellent outcome for country South Australia and demonstrates the Abbott Government's commitment to regional and rural areas," Senator Ruston said. "More than 60% of road deaths occur on country roads in Australia.
"The Government will also relax eligibility criteria for the Black Spot program, reducing the minimum benefit-cost ratio requirement from 2:1 to 1:1 and the crash history requirement from three casualty crashes in five years to two.
"This will be of considerable assistance to smaller regional councils which have projects that were not eligible under the previous criteria."
Senator Ruston said more potential black spots would also be fixed before they caused crashes under the revised program.
"Consultative panels - made up of community representatives and road user groups - will be able to allocate up to 40% of the program's funding based on road safety audits, representing a more proactive approach to national road safety," she said.
"These are significant changes to the Black Spot Program which help save more lives, boost productivity and create local jobs in regional Australia."