Page 491 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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amendments that we will soon discuss. This bill has the full support of the Canberra Liberals.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.33), in reply: I am happy to close debate on the in-principle stage of the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill in the Assembly today. The bill being debated today is part of our ongoing work towards Vision Zero—zero deaths and zero serious injuries on our roads. The government has laid out the guiding objective that we have under the ACT Road Safety Strategy 2020-2025. We work towards it in a range of ways, including through the initiatives in the Road Safety Action Plan 2020-2023, and by delivering useful reforms like those contained in this bill.

With this bill, we are establishing a new offence for negligent driving that injures another road user, as well as improving and clarifying the penalties for negligent and culpable driving in a range of other cases. We want everyone to be safe on Canberra’s roads, and this bill will help to close a current gap in the protections that are available. We recognise that as there are more people walking, cycling and scooting on and around Canberra’s roads, it is important that our road transport penalties are appropriately calibrated to address the spectrum of dangerous behaviours that can put people at risk.

From the outset, I would like to advise of my intention to move government amendments today. These amendments seek to further refine and clarify the hierarchy of offences for unsafe and dangerous driving, building on the substantive reforms in the original bill. Taken together, this bill and the additional government amendments I will move in the detail stage significantly strengthen and clarify the hierarchy of offences and penalties for unsafe behaviour on our roads.

I would like to work through these items according to that hierarchy because it helps to illustrate how we are comprehensively tightening and improving things. Starting with the government amendments which have been circulated in my name in the detail stage debate, these introduce new lower level offences that act as early intervention tools to stop dangerous behaviour. This includes new offences for driving a vehicle or travelling in or on a personal mobility device without due care and attention or reasonable consideration of road users. This is the first rung on the enforcement ladder. These amendments encourage ACT road users to be responsible when sharing the road network with others.

These new offences are designed to respond directly to the increasing diversity of users on our roads, including pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooter riders. As part of our consultation on the shared e-scooter pilot that has been underway for the past 12 months, we have heard that Canberrans want a clearer framework to guide good behaviour and encourage considerate sharing of the road.

These offences will apply to e-scooter riders who are using these devices without taking due care. This might include behaviour like swerving in and around pedestrians in busy public places or forcing pedestrians to take evasive action to avoid being hit by an e-scooter. It will also capture an array of inconsideration behaviour from drivers, such as intentionally speeding up and preventing another vehicle from merging.

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