Ryan wants re­view

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

The Na­tion­als want an ur­gent re­view into the use of wire rope bar­ri­ers, which flank roads in and around Be­nalla, fol­low­ing the death of a young woman last week.

How­ever, La­bor ar­gues the bar­ri­ers are safe and have pointed to their record in prevent­ing se­ri­ous in­ci­dents.

State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan has called on the Pre­mier and Roads Min­is­ter to in­ves­ti­gate the wire rope bar­ri­ers project in the wake of the tragic crash, which oc­curred on the Calder Fwy.

Speak­ing in Par­lia­ment Ms Ryan said an in­sider with in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the wire rope bar­rier project had raised con­cerns that the rushed roll­out had re­sulted in projects that don’t meet safety stan­dards.

‘‘Thou­sands of peo­ple across Vic­to­ria be­lieve the roll­out of wire rope bar­rier is mak­ing our roads more dan­ger­ous,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘I am urg­ing the Pre­mier and the Roads Min­is­ter to halt the roll­out un­til these con­cerns and last week’s aw­ful ac­ci­dent can be in­ves­ti­gated by au­thor­i­ties,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘The in­for­ma­tion passed to me al­leges the wire rope bar­rier was in­stalled be­hind a fixed-rail W-beam, which caused the car to slide along the rope bar­rier and into the end of the rail bar­rier.

‘‘This is a se­ri­ous and alarm­ing al­le­ga­tion, which war­rants an im­me­di­ate and thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

‘‘In De­cem­ber I stood in Par­lia­ment and asked Luke Don­nel­lan to halt the roll­out un­til fears about its safety could be in­ves­ti­gated and in Jan­u­ary I wrote to the min­is­ter to again con­vey my con­cerns,’’ Ms Ryan said.

Vic­to­rian Roads and Road Safety Min­is­ter Luke Don­nel­lan has not halted the roll­out and points to sta­tis­tics that sup­port the need for wire-rope bar­ri­ers.

‘‘Flex­i­ble safety bar­ri­ers are proven to save lives, re­duc­ing the risk of head-on and run-off-road crashes by 85 per cent — that’s why we’re in­vest­ing in them,’’ Mr Don­nel­lan said.

‘‘The bar­ri­ers that were in­stalled last year have al­ready been hit more than 300 times.

‘‘That’s 300 po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing crashes that have been avoided.

‘‘Steph Ryan con­tin­ues to make shame­ful at­tempts to use these life-sav­ing bar­ri­ers to score grubby po­lit­i­cal points.

‘‘Sav­ing lives on coun­try roads has al­ways been an is­sue that’s more im­por­tant than petty party pol­i­tics, it’s a sad in­dict­ment that the Na­tion­als and coun­try Lib­er­als no longer hold that view.’’

How­ever, Ms Ryan said these con­cerns were not just her own, stat­ing they also came from emer­gency ser­vice work­ers, farm­ers and road trans­port in­dus­try work­ers, as well as mo­torists and mo­tor­bike rid­ers.

CFA as­sis­tant chief of­fi­cer Trevor Owen is some­one who has also gone public with his con­cerns.

‘‘Treat­ing one safety risk can cre­ate an­other. Longdis­tance wire-rope bar­ri­ers along our ma­jor roads will have a con­se­quence on fire- fighter safety and de­lay ac­cess to fires in some cases along road­sides,’’ Mr Owen said.

Ms Ryan has launched a pe­ti­tion, which will be tabled in Par­lia­ment, call­ing on the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to im­me­di­ately halt the roll­out of wire rope bar­ri­ers un­til safety is­sues had been ad­dressed and a more strate­gic ap­proach for bar­rier place­ment could be adopted.

‘‘I am not op­posed to the strate­gic place­ment of these bar­ri­ers in places where they will be most ef­fec­tive,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘I am, how­ever, ve­he­mently op­posed to a blan­ket roll­out, which jeop­ar­dises com­mu­nity safety.’’

Visit www.stephryan.com. au to down­load the pe­ti­tion.

Bar­rier de­bate: The Na­tion­als want an ur­gent re­view into the use of wire rope bar­ri­ers.

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