Call to review wire rope barriers rollout

February 15, 2018

Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy wants to see the suspension and review of the state's rollout of wire rope barriers.

The Victorian Opposition has called for the suspension and review of the Victorian Government’s rollout of wire rope barriers.

The rollout has attracted criticism from MPs in recent months for limiting emergency services access.

But State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said they were there to save lives and had already proved beneficial.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy, who was in Shepparton Tuesday, argued for the barriers to be placed in common-sense locations where access was not being blocked.

The Coalition has questioned the planning involved and the safety outcomes of the barriers.

‘‘We don’t oppose them at all,’’ Mr Guy said.

‘‘In tree-lined areas, they are very important, no doubt about that.

‘‘But putting them absolutely everywhere is overkill, it’s not safe.’’

Mr Guy said it was ‘‘counter-productive’’ to install the barriers ‘‘absolutely anywhere’’, fearing a situation where they prevented fire authorities from fighting grass fires.

He said a set of guidelines was needed stipulating conditions for determining the locations of barriers, with feedback included from groups such as the Country Fire Authority and councils.

Ms Symes argued the flexible safety barriers were proven life savers, reducing the risk of head-on and run-off-road crashes.

‘‘That’s why we’re investing in them,’’ she said.

‘‘The barriers that were installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times — that’s 300 potentially life-threatening collisions avoided.

‘‘Liberal and National Party members should meet the families of these people and explain why these barriers and their lives don’t matter.’’

Ms Symes said road safety had ‘‘traditionally been bipartisan with politicians accepting the advice from the experts’’.

She accused the Opposition of questioning the use of barriers for ‘‘uninformed political point-scoring’’.

Ms Symes said she would prefer to take advice on the barriers from road safety experts, ‘‘not the Coalition in an election year’’.

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan last month said farmers, road users and emergency services personnel had raised concerns with her about the installation of wire rope barriers.

Appearing with Mr Guy in her electorate this week, Ms Ryan also called for the ‘‘blanket rollout’’ to halt and for funding to be redirected towards road safety measures on country roads.

Ms Ryan said the Liberals and Nationals would also establish a working group to look into how wire rope barrier could be used more strategically to save lives.

The Victorian Government is installing more than 2000km of the flexible safety barriers, which have been said to reduce run-off-road and head-on crashes by as much as 85 per cent.

The government last month referenced last year’s road trauma figures, arguing run-off-road crashes were a significant cause of deaths on Victorian country roads.

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