Although Western Australia has some of the highest number of car accident injuries and fatalities in the country, the state is pulling back spending on road safety campaigns, and upsetting many by doing so.
Already, the state's road safety advertising budget has been cut by 50 per cent, and now it is looking at borrowing advertisements from other regions in Australia to further cut spending. While the government asserts it is a necessary decision for the budget, safety leaders from across the state are worried about the impact it could have.
Last year, the state spent $7.4 million on advertisements meant to improve road safety. By the time the state put the budget together for the 2013-2014 year, this amount had fallen by nearly 75 per cent to just $2 million.
Police Minister Liza Harvey stated she doesn't expect the cost-cutting measures to affect public safety, and that the decision was made after much consideration.
"I think the community want to see the Government getting a good value for money spend, particularly when it comes to any form of Government advertising. Just because the money is there doesn't mean we have to spend it at breakneck speed," she stated.
"We want to get a bargain for the Government just like everybody wants to get a bargain when they go shopping and they're spending their own money."
A 'massive betrayal'
To many people, the lower spending on road safety measures is a sign that the state is putting money concerns ahead of the safety of motorists.
Opposition police spokeswoman Michelle Roberts said the decision could have resounding negative effects.
"This is a massive betrayal. This kind of advertising saves lives by changing attitudes," she asserted.
"You're never going to be able to put a police officer around corner or on every road. You have to change people's attitudes to make a difference."
Western Australian motorists and safety advocates may have good reason to push for higher spending. In the year to November 30, there were 135 car accidents in the state, which led to 148 fatalities. This included 70 drivers deaths and 22 passenger fatalities. Another 27 pedestrians were killed in car accident related incidents.
Those who have been injured in a car accident may be entitled to compensation, so it's important to seek the legal advice of car accident injury lawyers.