One of the hardest parts of my job has been speaking to Canberrans who have lost a loved one or been injured themselves in a car accident. While car accidents are a sad reality, there are measures we can take to reduce their impact.
The Federal Government’s Black Spot Program aims to do just that. The Black Spot Program allows individuals and communities to nominate locations where crashes are occurring, so that improvements can be made to reduce the risk of future accidents at that site.
It’s a great program that is already having a positive impact.
However, last year residents of Chifley wrote to me to let me know they weren’t happy with a Black Spot initiative that had been funded in their suburb.
Anyone who has been through the intersection of Eggleston Crescent and Melrose Drive in Chifley knows that it is a dangerous one, and so it was rightly identified as a Black Spot. However the proposed measure to improve the safety of this intersection was to put in place a no-right-turn, causing huge inconvenience to local residents.
When I started to ask a few questions about why the no-right-turn option was chosen, I realised that there is no formal requirement for upfront community consultation in the Black Spot program.
While I applaud the program as a whole, I am a firm believer that there needs to be community consultation in decision making processes wherever possible.
This is why I have written to the ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury, and am writing to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, to ask them to make community consultation mandatory before any decisions on remedial measures for Black Spots are made.
I have also met with the ACT Black Spot consultative panel, to talk to them about how community consultation would work in the ACT. I look forward to keeping you updated on their responses.
I’ve had a great response to my petition for a second petrol station in Weston Creek. Visit www.gaibrodtmann.com.au or call 6293 1344 to find out how to sign the petition.
Canberra Chronicle, June 2013