The Victorian government has dangled a $210 million carrot in front of local governments to induce much-needed upgrades on local streets.
The new Safe Local Roads and Streets Program will enable councils to apply for funding for a range of upgrade projects over the next four years.
This is an opportunity for alert and prepared councils to tackle some the lingering safety issues facing bike riders on local roads across the state.
The new program will design and deliver safer infrastructure upgrades for communities, including raised crossings, intersection upgrades, speed cushions, kerbing upgrades, pedestrian islands, safer speeds and roundabouts, a government statement reveals.
The program is aimed at fostering partnerships between local councils, the Department of Transport and Planning and the Transport Accident Commission so they work together to identify, plan, develop and deliver more road safety upgrades.
An expression of interest process will be held for councils interested in the first phase of the program.
Up to 10 councils will be selected to participate in the first stage of the program and begin trials. The trials will be rolled out to all 79 councils.
"Around 33 per cent of road trauma occurs on local council-managed roads in Victoria each year. Of the 100 people who have died on Victorian roads this year, 32 have occurred on local roads, which is nine higher than the five-year average,” the statement says.
“Recognising the barriers local governments face in delivering road safety improvements, the Safe Local Roads and Streets Program will support local governments to identify road safety issues in their area and implement solutions."
The Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne said: “This program will support local governments across Victoria to deliver road safety improvements to council-managed roads, intersections and precincts in their areas, as well as make it easier for locals to get to where they need to go – whether it’s to school, work or the shops.”
Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore said: “Local councils play a pivotal role in identifying issues and improving road safety in their areas and this significant new program will help to reduce the risks and impact of trauma on local roads.”
In a related development, the Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne has encouraged groups to apply for their share of $600,000 as part of the 2023 TAC Road Safety Grants Program.
The recently revised program gives community groups the opportunity to identity road safety issues in their area and implement solutions, by coming up with a project to overcome them.
The program has two funding categories – Road Safety Support Grants of up to $50,000 and Road Safety Collaboration Grants of up to $150,000.
Examples of projects that may be funded include those that engage with communities to raise awareness of the benefits of safe road user behaviours, or proven road safety measures.
Community groups eligible to apply include incorporated associations, not-for-profits, charities, community trusts and social enterprises. Applications for the 2023 TAC Road Safety Grants Program are now open and close on 16 June.
For more information including how to apply visit tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety-grant-program.