Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
On Great Northern Highway, Pilbara.
Camera IconOn Great Northern Highway, Pilbara. Credit: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian, Stephen Scourfield The West Australian

Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel has penned a letter to Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price, seeking bipartisan support for a new $900 million funding program to help save lives on roads in the Pilbara.

Figures from the Road Safety Commission stated of the 454 people killed or seriously injured in accidents in the Pilbara between 2013 and 2017, 39 per cent were as a result of single vehicle run-off-road or non-collision rollover.

The project would seek to deliver safety improvements, including sealed shoulders and audible centre and edge lines to more than 17,400km of highways and main roads in the Pilbara and throughout regional WA.

Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti have written to the Prime Minister and Federal Infrastructure Minister seeking a funding partnership, which will see the Federal Government contribute $80 million a year, and the State government $20 million a year over the nine-year program.

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Mr Michel said the regional road safety package was the next major road project needed for the region.

“I urge Melissa Price to support the program, which will help save lives on Pilbara roads,” he said.

“The funding will go towards addressing the high number of single road crashes on country roads, and if agreed to, the plan could be rolled out immediately, delivering jobs straight away.

“The Federal Government’s share of the regional road safety program could be more than met if it were to redirect the $1.2 billion it has reserved for the Roe 8 and 9; a Perth project which is uneconomic and does nothing to address regional road safety in the Pilbara.

“All levels of government have a responsibility to improve road safety, and this program provides an opportunity to work together to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our local roads.”

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel.
Camera IconPilbara MLA Kevin Michel. Credit: Alicia Perera

Port Hedland Ratepayers Association president Arnold Carter said he believed investment in Pilbara roads was needed.

“The ratepayers association would welcome any investment into the highways around Hedland; the road to Tom Price, in particular, needs work,” he said.

“It’s not just a question of increasing the usability of the roads for tourists and locals, it would also be an important improvement for the transport industry as well, which is obviously important in the Pilbara.”

So far in 2020, there have been 11 fatalities on WA roads, with nine being on regional roads.

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