In 2013, the government announced the $1 billion Safe System Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) as part of its Road Safety Strategy 2013–2022. In 2016, it launched the 2016–2020 Towards Zero Strategy and Action Plan (the Towards Zero Strategy) to complement the SSRIP. This included a $340 million program of road safety initiatives.
TAC funded the Towards Zero Strategy with the proceeds from annual vehicle registrations, which road users pay. Most of this funding was set aside for VicRoads—now part of the Department of Transport (DoT)—to deliver 27 road safety projects. These projects, collectively referred to as the Top 20 Program, involve installing road safety infrastructure, such as flexible barriers, wide centrelines and rumble strips, to 20 of Victoria’s highest‐risk rural roads.
For this audit, the objective was to determine if Victoria’s regional road barriers program is delivering its intended safety outcomes. To do this, the Auditor-General focused on TAC and VicRoads’ roles in planning, installing, maintaining and monitoring flexible barriers installed under the Top 20 Program.
- VicRoads did not sufficiently plan its flexible barrier installation projects under the Top 20 program. As a result, it is likely to spend at least 22 per cent more installing the barriers than it originally budgeted for. Additionally, it has failed to properly maintain and monitor the barriers it installed, which increases the risk that they will not perform as intended.
- VicRoads has not kept adequate records about project start and completion dates, and in some cases, it is missing data. This will impede its ability to fully evaluate the Top 20 Program’s outcomes and hold itself accountable to the community for the effectiveness of its investment.