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$3.1 Million To Boost Vehicle Safety And Save Lives

Australian Coat of Arms


Senator The Hon Ian Campbell
Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads
Manager of Government Business in the Senate

TRS18/Budget 11 May 2004

The Australian Government will spend an extra $3.1 million in 2004-05 to strengthen Australia's vehicle safety standards, the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

The funding would also slash current three-month delays in obtaining vehicle inspections under the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme that enables registered businesses to import small numbers of specialist and enthusiast vehicles into Australia.

"The Government aims to reduce Australia's road fatality rate by 40 percent by the end of the decade," Senator Campbell said. "Vehicle standards research will make an important contribution to reducing the number of deaths on our roads, although there will be a lead time before the benefits emerge.

"We can reasonably aim to save more than 200 lives a year by 2010 through better driver and passenger protection and new technology to reduce mistakes by drivers."

The Government is responsible for setting Australia's vehicle safety and emissions standards. The extra funding will pay for more research and better standards in three key areas:

  • Side impact occupant protection, which will extend coverage to a broader range of crash scenarios including car into car and car into pole accidents;

  • Vehicle pedestrian safety, which will establish methods for conducting objective assessments of the pedestrian friendliness of car front structures; and

  • Vehicle compatibility to look at the protection of the occupants in the other vehicle involved in a crash, especially crashes that involve large passenger cars colliding with smaller vehicles. The current standards only deal with self protection.

"Australia will now be able to participate more fully in international vehicle standards research," Senator Campbell said. "We will be chairing an international research group developing the next generation of side impact occupant protection standards.

"The Department of Transport and Regional Services will employ about 10 additional technical and professional officers to improve the level of service that we provide to the industry. The extra staff will slash the waiting time for vehicle inspections under the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme from the present 12 weeks to four weeks from September 2004."

The funding would also enable the department to improve the automated certification system that manufacturers use to obtain approvals to supply vehicles to the Australian market. This would be complemented by expanding the department's program of audits of vehicle manufacturers to confirm compliance with safety and emission standards.

Media contacts:

Wayne Grant (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7060 / 0407 845 280