I am pleased to inform you that your RACV magazine, RoyalAuto, celebrates its 95th birthday this month. Over its history, RoyalAuto has proved to be a tremendous benefit for members, who have always played an active role in its evolution through surveys and feedback.
Last year we produced Impact, a major multi-media report on road trauma. To help further road safety, particularly before Easter, we are launching a Victoria-wide safety awareness social media campaign, in partnership with 7 News, Victoria Police, The Alfred and Royal Melbourne Hospitals and Ambulance Victoria. However, the campaign’s success depends on RACV members sharing and encouraging others to have their say.
In early May the State and Federal Governments will announce their budget commitments for 2018-19 and the four-year forward estimates. Last month, I noted some of RACV’s safety priorities for roads, vehicles and drivers and we have included these important initiatives in our budget submissions to both Governments.
Our road and public transport priorities for the State Government include allocating more funds to maintain Victoria’s deteriorating rural roads, completing the North East Link, addressing the RACV Redspot at Point Cook Road between the Princes Freeway and Dunnings Road, improving the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit bus routes, with more services and greater bus priority, and upgrading Hoddle Street and Punt Road between the Eastern Freeway and the Yarra River.
Victoria is not getting its fair share of Federal transport funds, with about 10% of the national allocation coming our way. We have about 25% of the nation’s population, we are the fastest-growing state and we contribute about 25% of national GDP. It’s time Federal and State Governments ensured increased and fairer funding to deliver our key transport needs.
RACV priorities for the Federal budget include more funding for regional highway upgrades, highway duplication projects and safety infrastructure, and funding for the North East Link and Western Distributor. RACV believes the Federal Government should also commit funds to the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel project and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
There is a wide range of other projects that need support, beyond headline city-shaping projects. St Kilda Road and Sydney Road, for example, are suffering huge pressure from motorists, trams, and bicycle riders. These key commuting corridors require State Government investment.
Recently, our support in RoyalAuto for change along Sydney Road made news. RACV called for the State Government to rapidly progress its traffic and parking investigations to expedite a trial to start this year. Sydney Road has under-used off-street parking, slow trams, risky cycling conditions and crowded footpaths. The suggestions would increase the use of car parks in adjacent streets, provide safer conditions for riders, faster and more reliable tram services, and wider footpaths.
Our Sydney Road proposal recognises the important role public transport and cycling play in keeping our city moving, as highlighted in our recent commuter challenge. We compared trips by tram, car and Melbourne Bikeshare, from Fitzroy to the RACV City Club in Bourke Street. Featured in RoyalAuto online, you may be surprised to see that the Bikeshare trip was quickest, cheapest and burnt the most calories.
Kevin W White, President & Chairman of the Board