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It’s time to depoliticise road funding

Despite billions of dollars being spent every year on roads, Australia’s road toll is rapidly rising. 

In the past 12 months, road deaths have risen by 4.6 per cent. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths have increased by even bigger margins – up 11.3% and 30.3% respectively. 

But we can’t identify the best ways to tackle this crisis because the data needed to understand what’s going wrong isn’t being reported. 

Australia can’t develop effective solutions without crucial crash-related data. We need information on crash causes, road quality, and law enforcement issues, such as drunk and drugged driving, speeding, and mobile phone use.  

There is a better way available to us – a commonsense, low-cost approach that will save lives and reduce wasteful spending. 

Data saves lives 

State and territory governments collect the relevant data. But they don’t share this information with each other, the federal government, independent experts, or the public. 

Using this information to build a transparent national road safety database would help build the evidence needed to ensure taxpayer funds are being spent where they are most needed. And that would save lives and prevent wasteful spending. 

As motorists, taxpayers and voters, Territorians have a right to be assured that road funding decisions and transport policies are guided by good evidence. 

The AANT has joined with Australia’s other motoring clubs and the Australian Automobile Association to call on the Commonwealth Government to make federal road funding contingent upon the states providing safety-related data. 

The Australian Government gives the states and territories $10 billion a year for road funding. But unlike agreements for Commonwealth funding for education, hospitals and housing, there is no requirement that the states provide any data or evidence to justify their spending decisions.  

It’s time for data transparency on road funding. 

The Commonwealth, states and territories are currently negotiating a new five-year National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects. 

By making federal road funding contingent upon state provision of safety-related data, this agreement can deliver Australia’s most meaningful road safety-related reform in decades.  

This presents a real opportunity for all governments to shift our nation to data-driven road safety and road funding policy. 

Data transparency will save lives, curb billions of dollars in wasted expenditure, and deliver the funding integrity voters want and expect. 

The next National Partnership Agreement between the Commonwealth and the states is expected to be concluded in early December, and it will lock in funding arrangements for the next five years.  

The clock is ticking. 

The Australian Automobile Association has written to all federal MPs, and The Data Saves Lives website lists every federal MP and whether they support linking federal road funding with data transparency and evidence-based policy. 

AANT is calling for federal members of parliament in the Northern Territory, Luke Gosling (member for Solomon) and Marion Scrymgour (member for Lingiari) to get behind road safety and data transparency. 

You can help by telling your federal member to act. 

Visit to urge your federal MP to change their position on this issue and start saving lives with data.