Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu
Coalition To Improve Safety At Up To 75 Country Level Crossings
Victor P Taffa
A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will fix safety problems at up to 75 Level Crossings across Victoria and save country lives by installing boom barriers.
Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu said the Coalition will commit $33 Million to install boom barriers and flashing lights at up to 75 Country Level Crossings across Victoria.
“The Coalition will fix the problems at Country Level Crossings by installing boom barriers and adding flashing lights if lights are not already in place.” Mr. Baillieu said.
“After 11 years of Labor, only 242 of Victoria’s 1,703 Country Level Crossings have boom barriers.”
“Premier John Brumby has done too little to improve safety at Country Level Crossings to Protect Country Families.” Mr. Baillieu said.
The Auditor-General found in March that John Brumby had only upgraded 7 of 35 level crossings that V/Line said should be improved and that there was ‘no agreement about (level crossing) upgrade priorities between the Department (of Transport) and V/Line’ (Source: Management of Safety Risks at Level Crossings, 24 March 2010, p17).
The Auditor-General reported that the average number of fatal collisions at Victorian level crossings had increased to seven a year in the six years to June 2009, compared with five a year between 1996/97 and 2002/03.
The Coalition has already announced a $17 Million commitment in Warragul for fixing problems and building a Road Underpass.
One stark example of Labor’s failure on level crossings is on the Warrnambool Line beyond Marshall, where just Seven Level Crossings have boom barriers, while there are 88 with only Stop or Give Way signs or flashing lights without boom barriers, despite six passenger trains per day travelling through these crossings at a maximum speed of 115 km/h.
The Coalition will use existing priority listings for Level Crossings, including those compiled using the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model, to determine which Level Crossings will be fixed first.
Under Labor, the lack of Boom Barriers also remains a major problem on lines including Swan Hill, where 11 V/Line passengers tragically died near Kerang in June 2007 when a truck collided with their train, and on other freight-only lines including Maryborough to Mildura and North Geelong to Ballarat.
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