Local Governments

More than one half of all killed and serious injuries (KSI) in Western Australia occur on roads managed by Local Governments (local roads).

  • In the five-year period 2017 – 2021, 57% of all KSIs were recorded on Local Government managed roads[1].

As road managers, Local Governments are a critical stakeholder and partner in road safety, collectively managing over 127,000kms of roads which represents more than 87% of all public roads in WA[2].

In addition, Local Governments perform several other functions, that can contribute to the road safety effort, in:

  • land use planning and urban design,
  • community development and leadership,
  • as fleet operators and managers, and as
  • employers.

Each year Local Governments in WA, spend more than $1 billion on repairs, maintenance, renewal, upgrades, and expansion of the local road infrastructure. Forty-eight per cent of that investment comes from Local Governments’ own resources. Maximising this investment to prioritise road safety outcomes will contribute to achieving the objectives and targets of the National and State road safety strategies.

Local Governments role in road safety has been highlighted through two high-profile road safety reviews, where both recognised that Local Governments are key stakeholders with a significant influence on road safety outcomes. In addition, the reviews recommended that Local Governments need to be engaged and supported to ensure road safety strategy objectives and targets can be achieved:

  • The 2018 Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020[3] recommended that road safety be embedded as ‘business as usual’ for all three spheres of government, including Local Government, to assist in transforming road safety performance across Australia, and
  • In reviewing national road safety governance arrangements[4] in 2019, the Road Safety Taskforce concluded that the Local Government sector “is not sufficiently engaged or resourced to deliver road safety”.

This is where WALGA’s RoadWise Program is designed to direct the focus for WALGA’s road safety staff to engage Local Governments in best practice road safety. To build an informed and committed sector with safe system principles integrated into the way the local road network is managed, to ultimately make an effective contribution to the achievement of National and State road safety objectives and targets.

[1] WALGA (2024) Road Safety Performance Local Government Roads 2017-2021 All of WA, Perth

[2] WALGA (2021-2022) Report on Local Government Road Assets and Expenditure 2021-22, Perth. Road-Assets-and-Expenditure-Report-2021-22-website-compressed.pdf (walga.asn.au).

[3] Australian Government, Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011- 2020, September 2018https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-11/nrss_inquiry_final_report_september_2018_v2.pdf.

[4] Australia Government, Road Safety Taskforce, Review of National Road Safety Governance Arrangements Final Report, June 2019, https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-11/stp_review_of_national_road_safety_governance_arrangements.pdf.