Five die on nation's roads on first day of holidays
The 12-day Christmas period has got off to a terrible start with five road fatalities, including three deaths in separate accidents in Victoria.
The deaths follow three in the Northern Territory and one in Queensland on Saturday night before the start of the official 12-day road toll period.
On Sunday, an elderly woman passenger died when the car she was in crashed into a light pole in Bentleigh East in Melbourne's south-east.
The crash came hours after a man died when his car veered off the road in nearby Moorabbin and smashed into a tree, flipping on its side.
The third fatality occurred at 4.15pm in Kerang in Victoria's far north when a sedan veered into truck on the Murray Valley Highway. The driver of the sedan, a woman and sole occupant, died at the scene while the truck driver was taken to hospital.
Tasmania recorded its first fatality of the holiday season when a motorist died when his car crashed on East Bagdad Road near Bagdad, north of Hobart, about 1.45pm.
In South Australia, a 22-year-old woman died after her car crashed into a tree at Black Hill, near Mannum, east of Adelaide.
On the Gold Coast, two people were flown to hospital in a critical condition after a bus rolled down an embankment on Mount Tamborine in the hinterland. Police say 18 people, mostly Chinese tourists, were involved in the accident, which occurred about noon.
The deaths took the national holiday road toll to five.
On Saturday night, before the start of the national Christmas road toll, three people died in the Northern Territory after their car rolled and landed on its top near Hermannsburg.
Police had called off a pursuit of a Commodore on Saturday evening after the driver refused to stop and then sped off.
The car was later found about four kilometres west of Hermannsburg having rolled on to its roof, police said on Sunday.
Two women, aged 26 and 32, died after being ejected from the car and a 30-year-old man also died at the scene, police said.
A 26-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were taken to hospital.
In far north Queensland, a man died after crashing an overloaded car.
Police say the vehicle was travelling along Pormpuraaw Street, in Pormpuraaw on the Cape York Peninsula, about 11.30pm on Saturday when it left the road and rolled.
Six people were in the car at the time, police say. The driver, a 27-year-old Aurukun man, died at the scene.
The national road toll period runs from December 23 to January 3.