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Ministry of road safety created in reshuffle

New blood: Member for Ballarat Catherine King is the new federal minister for road safety.

Catherine King promoted in cabinet reshuffle, while Greg Combet adds to portfolio

General News logo25 Mar 2013

STATE motoring clubs that have pushed for greater priority of road safety have welcomed the creation of a ministry for road safety as a part of today’s federal government reshuffle.

The automotive manufacturing sector was also pleased that Greg Combet retained the crucial ministry of industry and innovation.

The peak body for the motoring clubs, the Australian Automobile Association, acknowledged the higher profile that road safety has been given with the appointment of Catherine King as minister for road safety.

Ms King was previously a parliamentary secretary with responsibility for road safety reporting to the minister of infrastructure and transport, Anthony Albanese and has also been appointed minister for regional services, local communities and territories.

“Too many people continue to die or are seriously injured on Australia’s roads so a minister for road safety will provide important leadership,” AAA Executive Director Andrew McKellar said.

 center imageLeft: Minister for industry and innovation Greg Combet.

“I congratulate Catherine King on her promotion. She has been a hardworking advocate for road safety in the past and I look forward to continuing a strong and productive relationship on these matters,” he said.

An AAA spokesman said that the new ministry will be in a good position to influence road safety by ensuring that the issue is a top priority when the federal government allocates road-building funds to the states.

The association points out that, while cars have become safer in recent years, the roads have not with no Australian highways achieving a five star safety rating for their entire length.

The AAA argues that the most cost-effective way to make roads safer is to ensure they are properly designed in the first place.

“With more than 1,300 people dying and 30,000 seriously injured on Australian roads each year it is clear that road safety needs to be a key government priority,” Mr McKellar said.

“It is estimated that road crashes cost the Australian community about $27 billion a year, so it is essential that there is a targeted and effective strategy to reduce the economic and human cost of road trauma,” he added.

Industry and Innovation minister Greg Combet has had his department greatly enlarged by a merger with his previous department, climate change. The new department will be called the department of climate change, industry and innovation.

The car industry was relieved Mr Combet retained his ministry of industry and innovation so close to an election.

“The FAPM welcomes the continuity for the car industry at such a critical time,” said Jim Griffin, the president of the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers.

“Greg has shown himself to be a supporter of the car industry since he became industry minister.

“We hope the policies now in place for the automotive industry continue to be refined and improved so that Australia can continue to be a vehicle producer in the long term,” Mr Griffin said.

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