Log In Sign Up

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Mrs POWER (Elder) (14:40): My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services. Can the minister please inform the house about events held to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims?

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:40): I thank the honourable member for her question and her interest in road traffic safety in particular. At this time of year, as we head into the Christmas period, we know our senses are heightened and we do ask everyone to stay safe on our roads.

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims took place on 18 November. It was an important day. It provides us with the opportunity to remember the millions of people worldwide killed and injured on our roads. This day was introduced by the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims. It was held in 1995 for the first time. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005. Since then, it has grown to become a very significant event to pay respects to those who have passed on our roads.

In South Australia, since 2010, nearly 900 people have died on our state's roads and there have been more than 6,800 people who have sustained serious injury as a result of more than 5,500 road crashes. We know that the impact of these incidents can be everlasting and wide ranging. The statistics represent tens of thousands of families, friends, sporting clubs, community groups, schools, religious groups and entire communities who have had their lives irreversibly changed due to the death or serious injury of a loved one on our roads.

It was a true pleasure to be at the memorial service. Superintendent Bob Gray from SAPOL was there; the Commissioner for Victims' Rights, Bronwyn Killmier, was also there, and Rod Campbell from the MFS spoke, a man who has run the RAP program for a long time. Rod has done an outstanding job.

Mr Malinauskas: A good man.

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: He is. He goes around to the schools with the RAP program and speaks to young people about what the emergency services people see at these road crashes and tries to encourage young people to stay safe on the roads so they don't come across each other in an unfortunate situation. These incidents also change the lives, of emergency services personnel, who are often the first responders. People whose job it is to be on the scene of a crash include, of course, SAPOL police officers, SA ambulance paramedics, MFS firefighters and CFS and SES volunteers.

When I hear from these workers and volunteers, over and over again I hear that attending these crashes can be the hardest part of their job. The incidents, they say, stay with them for life, as you would imagine. This is especially true of our emergency services personnel based in the country areas. These workers and volunteers will often receive call-outs at all times of the day and night and they will attend a crash, and often in those local communities they are people they know well.

Earlier this year, I attended the opening of the Loxton SES headquarters in the Riverland. This unit was equipped to deal with road traffic crashes in the local area. I thank them for their work in this area. It was great to be on site to see the SES volunteers and hear firsthand their stories about the challenging areas they work in and, of course, all the SES and CFS volunteers and the MFS workers as well who do that work.

As well as the personal impact, there is, of course, also the economic impact from road crashes to consider. The economic cost of road trauma in South Australia is estimated at over $1 billion a year. Of course, this does not come just from the human cost of pain, grief and suffering from road deaths and serious injuries, but it does make a big sum total of the cost of these incidents. Improving road safety requires a multifaceted approach. It is great to work with the Minister for Transport in this area to make sure that we do all we can from a policing perspective and also to improve infrastructure to make sure we keep our roads as safe as possible.

I stress again that we are heading into the Christmas period, the holiday period when we have more people on the road. So far this year, we have had 73 fatalities and 545 serious injuries. We want to keep that to a minimum in the run to the end of the year. We hope everyone is safe on the road and has a safe Christmas period.

24 hour office Community Survey