Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (9 March) . .
That the motion be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—
Ayes 7: Mr Coe Mr Doszpot Mrs Dunne Mrs Jones Ms Lawder Mr Smyth Mr Wall
Noes 8: Ms Berry Dr Bourke Ms Burch Mr Corbell Ms Fitzharris Mr Gentleman Mr Hinder Mr Rattenbury
Question so resolved in the negative.
Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) (Autonomous Vehicle Trials) Amendment Bill 2016
Debate resumed from 10 February 2016, on motion by Mr Coe:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (10.48): The government supports Mr Coe's intention in seeking to facilitate the trialling and testing of autonomous vehicles in the ACT. However, the government cannot support this bill as it does not set out an appropriate legislative framework for driverless vehicle technology in the ACT.
Mr Coe described his bill as a "first step", and has himself identified a fundamental problem with it: future legislative amendments would be necessary to allow autonomous vehicles to operate on ACT roads. I agree that Mr Coe's bill is a step, but I do not believe it is a step in the right direction. To be successful, our approach to autonomous vehicles needs to be done properly, having regard to the particular needs and legislative requirements of the ACT. I think that rather than being a helpful step, Mr Coe's legislation could well be an impediment to the goal that I think the entire Assembly shares, which is to enable the trialling and development of this technology here in the ACT.
I acknowledge that in certain areas of regulation it can be difficult for non-government members to unilaterally propose changes, as the legislation can be complex and there are often particular protocols that need to be navigated.
By way of background, the ACT's road transport legislation currently does not permit the operation of autonomous vehicles on ACT roads. The legislation is predicated on a driver physically operating a vehicle. The road rules, which we adopt from the national road rules, also implicitly require the driver of a vehicle to be human. Further, the licensing and registration provisions have been developed around a construct of a driver driving a vehicle.
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