Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 427..
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendments agreed to.
Remainder of bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2)
Debate resumed from 23 November 2006, on motion by Mr Hargreaves:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.03): The opposition supports the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2) which makes provision for road rules and other matters relating to safety and traffic management on roads and road-related areas. Section 16 of the act makes it an offence if a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident in which someone dies or is injured fails to stop and give any assistance that is necessary and in his or her power to give. This bill will amend section 16 by increasing the penalty for the offence from a maximum of 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for six months to a maximum of 200 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment—a quadrupling of existing penalties.
Opposition members believe that that is warranted although we would like to see the bill go a lot further. That amendment is intended more appropriately to reflect the seriousness of the offence and render the ACT penalty more consistent with penalties for similar offences in other Australian jurisdictions. Although this amending bill quadruples the penalty for offences, which were at a very low benchmark, it is still not consistent enough with New South Wales law. Opposition members will support this bill as it is a good start, and we are pleased that the minister brought it forward, but we would like to review these provisions in the future.
Opposition members would like the penalties for these offences increased to fall more closely in line with the New South Wales benchmark. For example, in New South Wales a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment is imposed if a driver fails to stop when someone dies, and seven years imprisonment is imposed if a driver fails to stop when someone suffers grievous bodily harm. I refer to Brendan's law, a law that was developed in New South Wales after a long campaign by the father of a small boy who died in 2004 after the boy on his bicycle collided with a car and the driver failed to stop. That is the incident on which that law was based.
I would like the government to have another look at that benchmark to see whether or not we can move closer to it for the practical reason that the ACT in some respects is an island in a large ocean and in legal terms we need consistency across borders. Of course, that is not always relevant to every law with which we deal in this place. We have to judge law on a case by case basis to establish whether or not it is necessary for