Funding to combat rural road trauma

La Trobe University has warmly welcomed a $2 million election promise by the ALP towards establishing a Rural Road Trauma Research Hub at its Bendigo campus.

The Rural Road Trauma Research Hub (RRTRH) would combine research expertise from across the campus, including in rural health, psychology, pharmacy, engineering, planning, education and law.

Research would focus on reducing the disproportionate number of people who die and are seriously injured on Australia’s rural roads each year.

Although, in 2017, 60 per cent of all deaths on Victorian roads occurred in regional Victoria, only 24 per cent of the population lived outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Head of La Trobe’s Rural Health School, Professor Pamela Snow said she warmly welcomed the funding commitment.

"This is a strong vote of confidence in the multidisciplinary capacity at La Trobe Bendigo to tackle a wicked problem that deeply affects rural communities.”

"This funding would enable us to recruit a Director and small number of senior researchers, who would immediately start work on establishing the Research Hub, and leveraging further funding to expand our staff."

"It is exactly the commitment we were hoping for from Lisa Chesters, who has been very supportive of this proposal from the beginning."

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, said she was thrilled to make the announcement.

“Road safety and the ongoing cost of care for those who are injured is an issue that is often raised with me,” she said.

“Ninety lives have been lost on Victorian roads this year and more than half of those fatalities have been in rural areas.”

“Sadly, five of those lives were lost on the weekend just gone and this year’s road toll is 50 per cent higher than it was in 2018.”

“It’s a matter of urgency that more time and resources are spent on reducing those numbers,” Ms Chesters said.

The $2 million was the Federal Government ask from La Trobe University, and under Labor the funding would be delivered in two parts; $1 million in 2020/21 and $1 million in 2021/22.

The Hub will be well placed to address the recommendations of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, including improving data collection, and embracing innovative, workable solutions and interventions in consultation with rural and regional communities.