I have had a busy first week back at State Parliament, having meetings with my fellow Ministerial colleagues and community members, implementing a new NSW Road Safety Plan and urging everyone to be prepared and remain vigilant to the ongoing threat of fire during this very dry season.
Making Roads Safer
I am pleased to announce the Road Safety Plan 2021, which details priority actions to help save lives on NSW roads. If you live in the country you are four times more likely to die in a road crash than if you live in a metropolitan area.
It will include a new Saving Lives on Country Roads safety infrastructure program, with an initial $125 million government commitment. Almost eight in ten fatalities on country roads (where speed limit is 100km/h or higher) involve the vehicle crossing the centre line (54 per cent) or running off the road to the left (23%).
Under this new Saving Lives on Country Roads program, we will initially roll out an estimated 1600km of rumble strips and up to 300km of life-saving flexible barriers and other targeted safety works to help prevent run off road and head on crashes.
We will also have stronger penalties for thousands of drink and drug driving offenders, with police being given the power to issue on the spot fines and licence suspension for low range drink driving, ensuring swift and certain penalties.
The initiatives are in addition to ongoing programs, including our Safer Roads infrastructure program, safety around schools and mandatory road safety education for every child in NSW. Visit towardszero.nsw.gov.au/roadsafetyplan.
Prepared for bush fires
In my role as Minister for Emergency Services this week I met with NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and senior firefighters at the NSW RFS Headquarters.
I had the chance to thank the firefighters and personnel from all of our emergency service agencies, as well as the support staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly this season and whose effort and dedication we will again rely on in the coming months.
I urge the public to help fire agencies by ensuring they remain prepared for fires. Fires ignite and spread quickly, which is why it is so important that you discuss and have a written bush fire survival plan.
This way the entire family knows what to do and where you will go in the event of an emergency. Mowing the lawn, removing flammable items from around the yard, clearing gutters and ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your home can make all the difference in a fire.
Multi-million dollar school maintenance
Public schools in the Dubbo electorate are reaping the benefit of reduced maintenance project backlogs after the NSW Government invested over $3.2 Million in schools across the electorate.
The NSW Government has reduced the State’s planned school maintenance list by more than $200 million – or by about a quarter – in the past 18 months. I welcomed the improvement, it is good to see these important maintenance works being completed in our local schools.
Providing high-quality school facilities is vital to give our children the education they need and deserve. These works ensure we’re providing those facilities. The reduction in the liability follows the NSW Government’s record $747 school maintenance investment over the next four years in last year’s NSW Budget.
Planned maintenance refers to non-urgent works undertaken according to an ongoing schedule. It does not include any maintenance that poses a safety risk to students or staff. In addition to the record maintenance spend, the NSW Government is also investing a record $4.2 billion over four years on building more than 120 new and upgraded schools.
Until next week, Troy