A report into the governance of road safety matters in Western Australia has found a number of shortcomings in the state's current system, particularly with financial management.
The independent review highlighted the Liberal National State Government’s decision to channel 100 percent of speed and red-light camera revenue into a trust account as part of a 2013 state election promise, available to fund road safety projects.
Up to $90 million per year is now expected to be added to the trust fund as a result, but the relevant departments have not grown to meet the new challenge.
The report's findings show that the departments are outdated and, in their current state, too small to handle the huge increase in funding.
Both the WA Office of Road Safety and the Road Safety Council were put under the spotlight, with the report proposing a list of improvements for each.
The two road safety bodies have been in place since 1996, and little has changed with either department during the last two decades of operation.
A total of 56 changes were recommended in the report, including a clarification of the role each road safety body plays.
The report pointed to potential friction between the pair, saying “the processes of both groups in determining the ranking of submissions need attention so as to avoid criticisms of cronyism and conflicts of interest”.
A further recommendation was the establishment of a Road Safety Commissioner.
The WA Government is yet to declare which, if any, of the 56 recommendations it will adopt, as the report is currently open for 30 days of public submissions.
While WA has joined many other states in seeing a reduction in instances of road trauma and the road toll over the last five years, the state’s per-capita road toll is one of Australia’s worst.
Further improvement in 2014 is also far from guaranteed, as WA’s current road toll is higher than at the same time in 2013 - a position shared with Victoria, New South Wales, the two territories and New Zealand.
The toll in WA as it currently stands is also higher than at the same time in 2012 or 2011.
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