Transport Inspectors play a vital role for road safety in Tasmania.
Budget cuts are impinging on their ability to perform their duties.
Labor's claims of being serious about improving road safety undermined by its disregard for Transport Inspectors role.
Transport inspectors responsible for the enforcement of a number of Tasmanian rules pertaining to road safety, vehicle compliance, weighing of heavy vehicles to assess compliance and conducting accident investigations have had their ability to do their jobs compromised by penny pinching and budget cutbacks within the Infrastructure Department.
The State Opposition has been informed that Budget cut backs have reduced the number of patrol vehicles available to inspectors to perform their duties. These vehicles are obviously vital to the work of Transport Inspectors who attend road accidents when heavy vehicles are involved, conduct random inspections and escort heavy vehicles across Tasmania.
Further, I've been told that leasing arrangements for vehicles have imposed an unrealistic cap on the number of kilometres travelled by inspectors - another clear impediment on the ability of Transport Inspectors to perform their job effectively.
The hypocrisy of this occurring when there have been massive increases in vehicles in, for example, the Department of Premier and Cabinet over recent years will not be lost on anyone. The vehicle fleet in DPAC has risen from 25-42 between 2003/04 to 2008/09.
Cost-cutting to reduce the vehicle fleet must be targeted at waste involving bureaucrats, not operational vehicles that provide front-line services.
The Infrastructure Minister needs to explain exactly what changes he has imposed on Transport Inspectors in the name of budget savings and clarify how these changes have affected the delivery of services provided by Transport Inspectors.
Penny pinching should not come at the expense of vital service delivery - particularly when doing so could have detrimental effects on road safety.
We are struggling with a tragically high road toll this year and Tasmanians need to be confident that their Government is doing everything possible to reduce these incidents. Cutting back on services that focus on road safety is hardly a way of achieving this.
This is a typical example of Labor's shortsightedness. For the sake of short term budget savings they are compromising the safety of Tasmanian road users and the Minister needs to act to rectify this immediately. What is needed is a government which shows some leadership in the field of road safety and some vision for safer roads into the future.