Towards Zero campaign: City backs ambitious target

AMBITIOUS TARGET: Former Hawk Campbell Brown, TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore, and Western Bulldog Josh Dunkley in Ballarat. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

AMBITIOUS TARGET: Former Hawk Campbell Brown, TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore, and Western Bulldog Josh Dunkley in Ballarat. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

Every possible strategy to lower the state’s road toll was examined when community leaders and AFL legends met with TAC representatives in Ballarat on Friday.

The Towards Zero lunch hosted Western Bulldogs premiership player Josh Dunkley, former Hawthorn player Campbell Brown and 90s goal kicking star Scott Cummings.

They were joined by Channel 9’s Craig Hutchinson, police, VicRoads representatives and Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh.

Fifty per cent of road deaths occur in country Victoria, while 10 people have died in the Ballarat region so far this year.

The road toll doubled in 2016, but has been reduced this year, with the state on track to record its lowest number ever.

TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore said there 2000 new drivers on the state’s roads every week.

“The thinking behind today's event is getting together community leaders and influencers to understand the facts and what we can do to influence better outcomes on our roads," he said.

"This is particularly important in regional areas such as Ballarat, where workers spend a lot of time commuting on the roads.

“With $1 billion in road upgrades this year – that is the largest investment in Victorian history.

Bulldog Dunkley is just 20 years old and grew up in country Victoria, where 50 per cent of the state’s crashes happen.

He spoke about how leadership was handled at the Western Bulldogs and how these techniques can be used in the community.

“We are all there for each like a family,” he said.

“You do feel like a family, so there are no nerves when you run out on the ground.”

Dunkley played in the under-18 TAC Cup with the Gippsland Power and travelled long distances as a junior.

Mr Calafiore said it was important drivers did not neglect to plan trips properly.