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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1666..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

There was actually no reference in any of the conversation or discussion on that 666 segment to speed cameras or other initiatives in relation to enforcement. Despite that, I think the first of the talkback-back calls received by 666 on the discussion was, "The government's only interested in revenue raising."There was no discussion throughout this segment on speed cameras, on policing or on enforcement, but the immediate and automatic response by talkback callers was, "The government's really only interested in revenue raising."

I raise this as an example to highlight the community perception and the cultural attitude prevalent in Canberra towards road safety measures, as if it is a sacred right to regard a 60-kilometre zone as actually and practically a 70 or an 80-kilometre zone, or that a 40-kilometre zone is actually a 60-kilometre zone, or that a 100-kilometre zone is actually a 120-kilometre zone.

It seems to me—and this particular instance reinforces the fact—that we desperately need a cultural change in this community towards road safety. That is why I announced in the Assembly that I am convening, together with the NRMA, a roundtable of key transport bodies and stakeholders to discuss the importance of road safety measures with specific reference to how the ACT can adopt a cultural shift on the effects of speeding and other key factors which increase the risk of road accidents, such as drink driving. I am sure members would have noted that the police reported that another 49 people were charged over the weekend with drink-driving offences. I think that in the last four months the police have now charged in excess of 400 Canberrans for drink driving. We have a significant cultural issue in this town in relation to speed and drink driving, a culture which we need to address.

The Swedish government have sought to address this same issue, and they have made significant achievements with their vision zero policy shift through legislation and greater engagement with the community on this important matter. Zero is not a target to be achieved by a certain date but an aspirational target where, in the context of the Swedish policy, eventually no-one will be killed. This is the aspiration: let us aspire to nobody being killed or seriously injured within the road transport system. The program has been successful in Sweden where there has been a gradual decline. In 2006, 445 people were killed on Swedish roads while in the base year of 2000, 591 were killed. As I said, Sweden has backed up its vision zero concept with a strong political influence through legislation.

I look forward, certainly, to the support of the Assembly in relation to pursuing the achievement of a new culture in relation to road safety within the ACT. Just in the context of this issue and the blase attitude which we appear as a community to adopt to it, we do need to realise that in the five years from 2004 to 2008—that is, in the space of the last Assembly—76 Canberrans were killed on our roads. Just in the first three months of this year—in fact, in the last six weeks—four Canberrans have died on our roads. We do need to address this issue through a cultural shift within the community.

Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.


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