‘ALARMING’: Almost $500M cost of Tweed road trauma
THE Tweed region has ranked an "alarming" third in a list of new statistics from the NRMA which shows that death and injury across the NSW Northern Region has overall cost communities more than $5.2 billion - or $2.9 million a day over a five-year period.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the economic impact the figures represented in regional and metropolitan Local Government Areas (LGAs) - which included areas north of the Hunter, Northern Tablelands and the North Coast - was "quite dramatic" and had identified priority regions for road funding stimulus.
The Tweed has cost $472,172,580, with the Mid-Coast region topping the list at $637,600,744 and Clarence Valley costing $492,364,548 - the total cost for NSW was $34 billion.
The NRMA report released this month looked at crash history between 2014 and 2018 based on the number of people per region and the number of kilometres of road to calculate a cost burden comparison of deaths and injuries on local communities.
"You can't put a dollar figure on the cost of losing a loved one or looking after someone with a lifelong injury, but you can quantify it economically," Mr Khoury said this week.
The report has focused on the at-risk regional areas of NSW as this is where 1088 (66 per cent) deaths and 61,184 (42 per cent) of moderate and serious injuries occurred.
The data, which is used by State and Federal governments, tracks the financial impact by incorporating the costs of emergency services, insurance, healthcare, the lack of earning capacity for those affected, tax implications, mechanical costs including damage to the vehicle and removal of the vehicle.
Mr Khoury said that while governments talked about how to navigate the impacts of coronavirus, one area they were concentrating on was road infrastructure and supporting local councils financially to maintain local roads.
"It's an investment in the local economy and there are road safety benefits, but it's also about supporting tourism.
"Domestic tourism will play a big part in breathing new life into regional economics. People are wanting to visit the Tweed region, and we want them to have safe roads.
"Not only is there going to be an immediate effect in terms of road safety, but it puts money in the regional economy and boosts jobs and regional tourism."
He said that while there were existing funding channels from State and Federal governments for money to be made available to regional councils, the local councils carried about 80 per cent of the costs to road networks across Australia.
"Regional councils were facing big challenges before coronavirus hit and it's really important to continue to support them and keep roads safe."
Articles contributed by Louise Shannon were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.