MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire councillors are being urged to overturn their policy of only asking the state government to reduce speed limits on five or six roads a year.
Cr David Gill said council’s adoption of setting such low targets was “our worst road safety decision in my time as a councillor”.
His move to have no limit on approaches to the government puts him on course for a head-on clash with council officers who have said making the requests were “too onerous with little recent reward”.
Gill says Roads and Road Safety Minister Melissa Horne has used the peninsula as an example of where cutting road speed limits has led to a reduction in accidents, death and injury.
At council’s first public meeting for 2024 (6 February) Gill will propose that “council rescind its position to only advocate to the state government for five or six roads a year for speed reduction consideration given road Safety Minister Melissa Horne’s recent ‘government commitment to reduce speed limits on country roads’ after last year’s highest Victorian road toll in 15 years and her using the Mornington Peninsula as evidence of effective toll reduction after lower speed restrictions on over 30 dangerous roads were introduced here five years ago”.
“Action is needed if the shire doesn’t want to return to having the worst road toll in Victoria,” Gill told The News.
“The government’ lack of attention and neglect has been so poor that council officers convinced council last year that the effort and expense to save lives with reduced speed limits when advocating to the state government for consideration was too onerous with little recent reward.
“I believe this was our worst road safety decision in my time as a councillor.”
Gill said speed limits should be aligned to match circumstances on the peninsula “and our eight million visitors each year in order to help save lives”.
“We have high speed, narrow, often windy, tree lined roads around the peninsula.”
Horne said road trauma was “a complex challenge and sadly the contributing factors are not new – speed, not wearing a seat belt, drink and drug driving, high speed country roads, less safe older cars, multi-passenger fatalities and increasing level of travel on our roads”.
In a statement issued on 29 December the state government urged Victorians to “make safety a priority … [after] a devastating year on the state’s roads”.
“Data shows that lower-level drink driving and speeding, failing to obey road signs and distraction accounted for more than half of fatalities on state roads in 2023.