Other transport programs

Program 2.3-Road Safety (continued)

Detailed report on performance

The following report is against the components of Program 2.3 as set out in the 2009–10 PBS.

I. National road safety leadership

The Department provides the secretariat function for the new NRSC and assists the council with the development of its work program. During the year, the NRSC held several meetings with representatives from major road safety stakeholder groups, engaged a consultant to develop a communications strategy and established a public website presenting a series of road safety fact sheets and other material.

In 2009–10, the Department led and coordinated national efforts to develop a new 10-year national road safety strategy for the period 2011 to 2020. The new strategy will set national goals and priorities for road safety action over the coming decade. Working with state, territory and local government representatives, the Department prepared advice for the ATC on key elements of the proposed strategy and subsequently produced a detailed draft strategy to be used for public consultation in the second half of 2010. This draft strategy was informed by key research and modelling work which the Department commissioned and managed.

The Department maintained the Australian Road Deaths Database, updating it with fatal road crash data obtained every month from state and territory road safety authorities. The database provided the source information for the production and release of various statistical publications during the year, including 12 monthly bulletins on national road crash deaths and four quarterly bulletins on fatal heavy vehicle crashes. The Department also provided direct public access to an online version of the database.

In January 2010, the Department published detailed findings of the 2009 Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety. This survey involved interviewing 1,600 people across the nation about their road safety beliefs, attitudes and practices in relation to many road safety issues, including perceived crash factors, speeding, drink-driving, seatbelt usage, traffic regulation and enforcement, driver fatigue and mobile phone usage.

II. Driver training programs

The keys2drive program, which commenced in all states and the Australian Capital Territory, is delivering the first driving instructor accreditation scheme in Australia. The program aims to provide around 200,000 free driving lessons to learner drivers accompanied by their supervisors over the five years to 2011–12.

The keys2drive program also provides a range of information materials and support for learner drivers and their supervisors.

III. Seatbelts on regional school buses

A total of 56 school bus operators applied for funding to fit seatbelts in 88 buses, funding approval was granted for 87 of the 88 buses. In 2009–10, the fitting of seatbelts was completed in 63 buses and $1.0 million in funding was paid to school bus operators.

The program is demand driven and the level of funding provided reflects the number of applications received.

IV. Vehicle Safety

New vehicles

Before vehicle manufacturers and importers can supply vehicles to the Australian market, they must meet all appropriate provisions of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and demonstrate that their vehicle types meet all applicable ADRs. There was a 20 per cent increase in the number of vehicle types approved for identification plates and supply to the Australian market, from 3,700 in 2008–09 to 4,445 in 2009–10.

New vehicle regulations

The Department is continuously reviewing the ADRs to harmonise them, where possible, with international standards developed under the UNECE framework. Harmonisation minimises trade barriers and allows vehicles manufactured for world markets to be supplied to Australia without the need for extensive modifications. It leads to lower costs and better access to safer, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

As part of this process, in 2009–10 the Department completed:

  • one major amendment to mandate the fitting of front underrun protection on heavy goods vehicles (over 12 tonnes) from 1 January 2011 for new model vehicles and 1 January 2012 for all new vehicles
  • minor amendments to 11 ADRs covering matters such as standards for vehicle lighting, electronic stability control and mechanical connections between vehicles, and
  • notification to the UNECE of the application of 29 UNECE vehicle regulations in ADRs. This will facilitate future updating of ADRs incorporating these regulations and provides Australia with voting rights on these regulations.

The harmonisation process is being carried out in consultation with representatives of the state and territory governments, vehicle manufacturing and operating industries, and consumer groups.

Imported vehicles

The Department processed 21,638 applications to import vehicles compared to 18,219 processed in 2008–09, a 19 per cent increase.

Due to this increase in applications, the proportion processed within the target timeframe of 17 working days decreased to 61 per cent. Processes practices were improved to deal with higher application levels.

Specialist and enthusiast vehicles

The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles Scheme enables Australians to have access to some new or used vehicles that meet particular interests and are otherwise not available in Australia. The Department assesses vehicle models to determine their eligibility under the scheme, and eligible models are entered on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles. In 2009–10, the Department assessed 84 applications under the scheme.

Registered automotive workshops

Most vehicle models that are supplied to the market in limited volumes in Australia are used imported vehicles that are processed through the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS). Each registered automotive workshop has a ‘schedule of vehicles’ that specifies the vehicle models that the workshop has been approved to import and modify. RAWS vehicle models (other than used motorcycles for which volumes are not restricted) must be listed on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles. The inspection and evidence examination processes are resource intensive and closely scrutinise compliance with the RAWS requirements. The Department assessed 109 new and existing RAWS workshop applications: 12 new RAWS workshops were approved and 64 existing RAWS workshops were renewed. The Department conducted 168 RAWS inspections. The decrease in the number of inspections, from 201 in 2008–09, was due to reduced demand.


The number of vehicle production and/or test facilities audited totalled 72, following 76 audits in 2008–09. The number of audits was increased in the last two years to take into account the risks associated with the importation of trailers and vehicles from developing markets.

Safety investigations and recalls

The Department assists the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on matters relating to the recall of automotive-related products under the provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. In 2009–10, the Department conducted 107 safety investigations and monitored 174 new voluntary recalls notified by vehicle suppliers.

Case study-National Road Safety Council

The NRSC was established in April 2009, as an advisory body to the ATC, under a National Partnership Agreement between the Australian Government and the governments of the states and territories. The Department provides secretariat services to the NRSC and assists with the development of its work program.

The NRSC aims to contribute to a reduction in death and serious injury on Australian roads by enhancing the national implementation of effective road safety measures, which includes facilitating the timely and effective implementation of road safety measures in the National Road Safety Strategy. The NRSC will also raise the profile of road safety as a major public health issue across government, industry, business and community sectors.

In November 2009, the Australian Transport Council announced the appointment of seven prominent community leaders as members of the NRSC. They are:

  • Mr Roger Cook AM-Chair, Motor Accident Commission of South Australia
  • Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik-Former Dean, Indigenous Research and Education, Charles Darwin University
  • Ms Ann Bunnell-Chair, Australian Foundation of the Alliance for Healthy Cities
  • Ms Freda Crucitti-President, Australian Automobile Association
  • Mr Wayne Gardner AM-former world motorcycle racing champion
  • Dr Soames Job-Director, NSW Centre for Road Safety, Roads and Traffic Authority, and
  • Professor Ian Johnston AM-Deputy Chair, National Transport Commission.

Five ‘national road safety ambassadors’ were also appointed, to help focus community attention on road safety issues and complement the work of the NRSC. They are:

  • Ms Melissa Doyle-co-host of the Channel 7 Sunrise program
  • Mr Lindsay Fox AC-founder of the LinFox Group, an Australian-based international transport and warehousing corporation
  • Assistant Commissioner John Hartley APM-Commander, Traffic Services Branch, NSW Police
  • Mr Neil Mitchell AO-host of 3AW talkback radio, and
  • Mr David Wirrpanda-former AFL footballer and WA Young Australian of the Year 2009.

Since commencing a regular meeting schedule in February 2010, the NRSC has been building the capacity of members in relation to road safety issues, engaging with key stakeholders, and contributing to the development of the National Road Safety Strategy for 2011–20. The NRSC has identified six priority areas for early attention: young driver safety; fleet safety (including heavy vehicle fleets); safer speeds; Indigenous road safety; motorcycle safety; and alcohol and drug issues.

More information about the NRSC and road safety issues in Australia is available from the council's website, at

Prev. Index Next


Last Updated: 24 October, 2014