Federal Budget pledge to improve level crossing safety and funding for suicide prevention welcomed.

30 March 2022

The TrackSAFE Foundation welcomes the establishment of the $180.1m Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program and funding for suicide prevention and mental health services, announced as part of the 2022-23 Budget.

Every month there is a death or injury plus around 45 near hits occurring at a level crossings[1] in Australia.

Each fatality, injury and near hit impacts the individual and their family and causes trauma for train drivers and other rail workers.  Safe Work Australia have grouped train drivers with first responders as one of the most at-risk occupations for work-related mental disorders.

Improving safety at level crossings with site upgrades, education and awareness campaigns, the development and implementation of new technologies and better data to inform decision making will reduce risks and save lives.

With 45% of Australians between 16-85 likely to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, funding for mental health services and suicide prevention are welcomed.  We are also pleased to see funding for our decade long partner Lifeline Australia to provide additional services. TrackSAFE works closely with Lifeline to further understand and prevent suicide in public places, including on and around rail. 

Sadly, over the last 5 years 87% of all fatalities on the Australian rail network are suspected suicides (an average of 75 lives lost each year).  TrackSAFE believes no other sector is impacted as severely as the rail industry by suicide.  More social and mental health services for individuals can prevent severe illness and suicidal ideation and ultimately save lives. 

[1] Based on 2020 ONRSR data

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