By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Friday, March 11, 2022
South Australians have come together and worked hard to keep the state moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, however there are more challenges ahead as we transition towards recovery.
The State Election is fast approaching, and soon South Australians will be stepping into polling booths and making their vote count.
RAA’s playing its part, advocating for more than 780,000 South Australians and lobbying all parties for critical improvements in infrastructure, road safety and education, and regional tourism.
“South Australia is in an enviable position on a lot of fronts, but there are still areas we can improve,” says RAA General Manager Community and Corporate Affairs Emily Perry.
“We need to take action now so we can remain a vibrant sustainable and prosperous place to live for many years to come.
RAA is working with all political parties to get positive outcomes for both our members and the community.”
These six policy actions will help South Australia achieve that long-term success.
1. Create safer road users
People aged 16 to 24 have accounted for 21% of the fatalities on South Australian roads over the past two years.
That’s staggering considering they only make up 13% of the state’s population. The stats surrounding the safety of our smallest vehicle passengers is also concerning, with about 88%of child restraints being fitted incorrectly.
RAA believes road safety education, along with improvements to infrastructure, can help reduce fatalities on South Australian roads.
RAA runs several community education programs to improve road safety, including Street Smart High and Years Ahead.
It also supports the State Government’s draft SA Road Safety Strategy to 2031.
However, to complement the strategy, RAA would like the government to promote and recognise the benefits of greater professional driving instruction through driving lessons.
It would also like the government to establish a child restraint fitting network and reform child restraint legislation.
SA road fatalities in 2021
2. Create safer and more accessible road networks
RAA’s 2021 Risky Roads survey revealed that the community is concerned about SA’s road network, with RAA receiving more than 2000 nominations.
Main South Rd at Aldinga and Horrocks Hwy to the state’s Mid North featured heavily in the top 10 riskiest roads.
Meanwhile, the junction at Curtis Rd and Heaslip Rd at Angle Vale received the title of SA’s riskiest intersection.
RAA takes into consideration the public’s concerns about infrastructure problems. That’s why RAA is recommending the State Government prioritises several projects to improve road safety.
- committing to the staged duplication of the Augusta, Sturt and Dukes highways and the reduction of heavy vehicle traffic on the South Eastern Fwy
- establishing a road maintenance fund with a minimum value of $600 million
- upgrading metropolitan roads to reduce congestion, and
- repairing regional roads like Victor Harbor Rd and Main Rd at McLaren Vale.
3. Create connected, liveable, smart cities
Adelaide was named one of the world’s most liveable cities in 2021. To further enhance this, RAA wants the government to create a smarter, more connected city. How can this be achieved?
Among other initiatives, RAA would like to see a smooth transition to electric vehicles (EV) by scrapping stamp duty and improving EV charging infrastructure.
To help create a more connected city, the next State Government needs to offer alternative transport options, improved cycling infrastructure and on-demand bus services for the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.
A smarter city also requires open and digital ticketing for public transport to make it more attractive for commuters.
They should be able to plan journeys and purchase digital tickets via multiple app platforms. This will have a range of benefits, including encouraging people to return to using public transport following the pandemic.
4. Encourage sustainable urban development
Urban development needs to be more sustainable to create a more liveable South Australia. RAA wants all new housing developments to have adequate road and public transport links.
When these areas are being designed, there needs to be infrastructure included that’ll meet the demand for EV charging.
With RAA representing one in four South Australian homeowners, it also wants to help solve challenges around the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
The challenge facing Adelaide is that many areas of land which are available for new development are also prone to natural disasters. For example, the Adelaide Hills faces bushfire risks, and the northern suburbs are flood-prone.
To meet this challenge, RAA’s calling for the government to develop a plan to prevent flood risk on the Gawler River to protect new and existing housing in the northern suburbs.
5. Promote a stronger tourism economy
RAA is one of South Australia’s oldest travel providers and tourism experts in the state. COVID-19 has significantly impacted South Australia’s tourism industry, with border restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty all playing a part.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, strong intrastate travel has seen South Australians opting to holiday within the state’s regions. This has revealed problems with infrastructure in regional SA.
RAA recommends the next State Government invest in several initiatives to help the South Australian tourism sector bounce back from COVID-19.
This includes committing to an ongoing regional tourism grant program to help improve local infrastructure and developing a whole-state strategy to deal with the growing skills shortage.
6. Lower transport costs
In March 2021, the State Government introduced real-time fuel pricing on a two-year trial, requiring all fuel outlets to report any price changes to a central database within 30 minutes.
Coinciding with this, RAA launched a real-time fuel pricing feature on the myRAA app, which has been accessed more than 2.4 million times.
Real-time fuel pricing has also had an impact on the Adelaide market, with price variations decreasing by 50% in the first couple of months.
RAA believes real-time fuel pricing should be made permanent to help reduce transport costs for South Australians.