The $1.5 billion cost of road trauma in northern NSW
DEATH and injuries on northern NSW roads have cost the community more than $1.5 billion over a five-year period, according to new data from the NRMA.
The Lismore local government area alone has cost almost $280 million, with the Richmond Valley close behind on $278m.
The worrying statistics provide both the federal and state governments with valuable insights into where stimulus spending could be prioritised to help save lives, boost regional economies and support access to regional tourism post the coronavirus shutdown.
The NRMA's new report analysed crash history between 2014 and 2018 across regional and metropolitan LGAs based on the number of people per region and the number of kilometres of road.
The research places an apples-for-apples cost burden comparison of deaths and injuries on the local communities.
Road trauma cost for Northern Rivers LGAs:
● Lismore: $279,501,896
● Richmond Valley: $278,021,556
● Ballina: $223,471,769
● Byron Bay: $204,822,770
● Kyogle: $138,242,279
An NRMA spokeswoman said in terms of road trauma cost, Lismore was ranked as the 39th most expensive in the state out of 129 LGAs.
She said research was gathered through crash history data, sourced from the Centre for Road Safety.
"But we have to take into account some areas have lots of roads and fewer people and some are small geographically but have a large population," she said.
She said Transport for NSW maintains a document with a range of economic standards, including the economic costs of various types of crashes.
"The numbers were multiplied and summed to get a cost of road trauma," she said.
"This cost includes everything involved in the crash, from the emergency services called, the damage to the road, damage to vehicles, insurance, loss of productivity and health care and so on."
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said northern NSW stood out as a key area for road infrastructure funding, particularly when domestic tourism resumes in the region.
"The Australian and NSW governments are right to look to infrastructure spending to help Australia get back on its feet and this research by the NRMA sheds some valuable light on those communities that have borne the brunt of the economic cost of deaths and injuries," Mr Khoury said.
"Fixing regional roads will save lives, provide a much-needed boost to regional economies and give greater access to regional tourism destinations, particularly as we emerge from COVID-19 travel restrictions.
"Northern NSW has always been a top destination for holidays, and with the international travel restrictions to remain in place for some time, domestic locations will rise even further in popularity.
"We need to make sure tourists and locals are driving on the safest and most efficient roads possible."