My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC and concerns the cuts in funding to the Transport Accident Commission, all while the state continues to endure its worst road toll results in 14 years.

The government’s raid of $2.87 billion—I repeat, $2872 million—in dividends over the next four years from the TAC is totally irresponsible.

Road tolls are rising, particularly on regional roads such as those in my electorate of Western Victoria Region. The regional road toll is 85. That is an increase of 55 per cent in just one year.

The money taken by this government could have been used to match the federal government’s pledge of $14 million to fix regional roads in south-west Victoria.

It could have committed $318.3 million to the much-needed Barwon Heads Road duplication, as promised at the last state election; funded the testing of the driving ability of tourists who hire cars and endanger local drivers along the Great Ocean Road; removed the out-of-control roadside vegetation, which obstructs drivers’ vision and causes significant native animal roadkill; or even removed the wire rope barriers, which endanger motorcyclists and wildlife and clearly have not saved lives.

 There could even be some spare change.

Instead, this government has chosen to prop up its budget and fake a surplus, masquerading its poor economic management at the expense of the taxpayer and their safety.

The minister has claimed the funding was not taken from the operating budget of the TAC. Perhaps they need to prove it.

The action I seek from the minister is to clarify precisely where this TAC funding was previously being used and outline how the government plans to reduce the rising toll on regional roads, apart from providing slow-down signs and speed restrictions on their totally unsafe roads.

4 June 2019