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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 2670..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises general community concern over road safety;

(2) acknowledges the reduction in accidents on ACT roads, particularly among provisional licence holders; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to investigate ways to implement a points reward scheme for those who undertake further driver education courses.

Learning to drive or ride safely and competently is a once only investment for a lifetime of safe motoring. Learning to be a road user is not a right and it is certainly not a given. It is a responsibility and a very, very serious one at that. It must be taught under the correct guidance, with competent instructors who ensure that future drivers understand the responsibilities associated with holding a licence.

The ACT community is aware of the importance of road safety. We are continually reminded of the dangers on our roads through state and territory and federal government road safety campaigns. We are reminded every day by stories in the media that our roads can be very dangerous places, not just for the drivers but for passengers and pedestrians as well. Many of us cannot believe some of the accidents we hear about on our roads, but they do happen.

I wish to begin my comments with an example of public awareness of road safety. In a series of letters in the Canberra Times, a number of ACT residents made clear their various concerns over road safety. Writing on 2 January, Len Goodman pointed out:

While sound road conditions should be a given, and evidence of a police presence along the way to catch or deter dangerous drivers and not just speedsters would make a difference—let's get down to basics. The police don't drive our cars—we do. It's our hands on the wheel and it's our foot on the pedal! Until we drivers take more responsibility for our own actions and for the safety of our families and others on the road, no amount of big-stick penalties and better roads will on their own reduce the road toll.

The vast number of different issues raised in other letters, including red light camera infringements and the necessity for changes in general driver attitudes, indicate the high level of community concern over road safety.

In approaching the issue of road safety, the National Road Safety Strategy for 2001-10 written by the Australian Transport Council offers a comprehensive outline of the task at hand. The report states:

The Australian Transport Council, which comprises Federal and all State and Territory Ministers with transport responsibilities and includes an observer from local government, has adopted this National Strategy.

In Australia's federal system of government, road safety strategy and policy measures are principally driven by the States, Territories and local government who conduct their own comprehensive programs. The Commonwealth role is to collate statistics, conduct and coordinate research, fund National Highways and


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