National Road Safety Week

I acknowledge National Road Safety Week in the New South Wales Parliament. Roads infrastructure is important for every electorate, but few more so than the Blue Mountains electorate.

The highway is a way of life for almost every resident of the Blue Mountains. Not only is it our connection to jobs and commerce in Sydney or Lithgow, it is also our main arterial road between each village and town to the shopping centres of Springwood, Katoomba and Winmalee. Likewise for constituents in Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine and Mount Tomah at the northern end of my electorate, the Bells Line of Road is a similar fact of daily life for every resident.

For those reasons, road safety is front of mind for everyone in the Blue Mountains electorate. We must engage with a major highway just to get from one end of a small village in Warrimoo or Bullaburra to another.

Truck drivers and tourists use the highway and both are an essential aspect of our economy, but governments and communities must grapple with how best to achieve a happy coexistence between trucks and traffic and the local residents who live along the highway.

Therefore, we in the mountains are absolutely aware of the significance of National Road Safety Week. We are also aware that it was an initiative kicked off by one of our own.

Dear Peter Frazer tragically lost his daughter Sarah Frazer to a road accident on the Hume Highway in 2012. Peter has been unrelenting in his campaign in the years since that tragic incident to ensure that motorists drive so others survive. I acknowledge also the tow truck driver who went to Sarah's aid who lost his life.

I also note my friends and Blue Mountains residents Jasmine Payget and Laurie Strathdee who lost their son Rian in 2004 in an as-yet unsolved hit-and-run incident with a truck on the Hume Highway near the Southern Highlands.

Many long-term Blue Mountains residents would recall the horror road tolls during the 1990s. The toll has been reduced by the widening and separation of the highway between Glenbrook and Katoomba. However, there is always more to do as every year we aim to reduce the toll to zero.

This National Road Safety Week, I reiterate the need for us all to drive so others survive.

As individuals this means paying closer attention while driving, not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while feeling tired and fatigued.

For government it means providing adequate funding to upgrade road infrastructure to reduce as far as possible the risk of crashes on our highways and motorways, and changing laws to ensure people slow down when near emergency services and breakdown service operators.

Finally, it means ensuring the trucking industry also pays its workers adequately so that they are not forced to undertake dangerous shifts that put themselves and other road users at risk.

I commend the matter of public importance.

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