Call for Main Roads inquiry gains ground
A petition calling for an inquiry into Main Roads’ management of regional signage is likely to have attracted more than 2000 signatures when it is collated this week.
Country towns across WA were busy collecting and posting last-minute petitions this week so the total figures could be tabled in State Parliament next Tuesday.
Copies of the petition have been stationed at roadhouses, cafes, pubs, visitors centres, and local governments since mid-June.
The bipartisan petition was spearheaded by North West Central MLA Vince Catania and supported by Shadow Transport Minister and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, pictured right, with about 1500 signatures tallied this week.
Mr Catania plans to table the petition in State Parliament when it resumes for the first time in six weeks on Tuesday, August 11.
He hopes it will spur the State Government and WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti into forming a committee and launching the inquiry as soon as possible.
“This petition will give a clear indication that the public want to see this bipartisan, independent inquiry occur,” Mr Catania said.
“If the State Government has nothing to fear about a fresh set of eyes looking at Main Roads’ processes and procedures, then I would think they would not have any reason not to support this.”
Mr Catania launched the petition in support of his jailed constituent Kimberly “Cob” de Pledge, a well-known pastoralist, who is serving nearly four years in jail for a crash that killed a Tom Price couple in 2017.
Mr Catania said it was important the review was independent to give individuals, industry, and local governments the chance to share their experiences publicly.
“Main Roads often reviews itself, and that is not to say that Main Roads does anything that is not in the best interests of people who use the roads,” he said.
“I think it is important that people have the opportunity to present their evidence without fear.”
Ms Saffioti said road safety was her number one priority as WA Transport Minister, and she was “open to considering” the inquiry.
“I will wait for the member to table his petition and then am happy to engage with all parties in the parliament to determine the best way forward,” she said.
“We’re always looking at ways of making our roads safer, and if the community believes we need to take a fresh look at all these issues, I’m open to it.”
Ms Saffioti said Main Roads had been working with WA Police to “institute new policies and procedures to improve road signage, particularly in windy conditions”, since 2017.
“For example, there are now additional requirements in relation to securing road signage as they now need to be attached to a more permanent footing... there has also been a review into the speed limits in these areas.”
Mr Catania said he hoped the inquiry would encompass all of WA, but zone in on the handling of roadworks in regional WA.
“Road signage affects everyone, but I think highlighting a need to focus on regional WA is definitely warranted,” he said.
“You are often out of sight and out of mind in regional WA.”
Ms Mettam said she hoped WA Labor would support the inquiry “in good faith” and in the “best interests of road users in WA”.
“We all share a fair and equal right to safely managed roads,” she said. “It is more of a concern in remote areas, but an inquiry would benefit everyone and highlight the need for investment by putting an important spotlight on this issue.”
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