Page 2866 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022
The amendment notes the government is undertaking a range of work to ensure sentencing and bail laws and judicial outcomes are appropriate and in line with community expectation. That includes the review of road traffic offence penalties being undertaken by Minister Steel and the Transport Canberra and City Services agency and the work that JACS is providing to me on existing bail laws and sentencing laws, to make sure that they reflect the expectations of this Assembly on the way that those decisions are taken around repeat offenders.
It notes that the establishment of the independent law and sentencing advisory council, which is being established as a matter of priority, as I have indicated, will examine dangerous driving issues as a priority. I have moved that amendment to be very clear to this Assembly and be explicit about the work that is being done and indicate the range of future work that is being done, as well. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (3.48): I support the amendment put forward by Mr Rattenbury the Attorney-General. It brings into strong and effective focus the work that we are doing in government to address road safety issues across a number of different streams of work.
The ACT government has a really strong commitment to Vision Zero. This is a nationally agreed principle that no one should be killed or seriously injured using our roads. Its adoption is a commitment to a road transport system that does not kill or seriously injure people. No road death is acceptable, and the recent tragic events in our community—with 14 road deaths this year—has brought into stark relief the importance of road safety. Every time there is a road death, it is important to undertake an examination of the facts that led to that death or deaths, and recommendations through coronial inquiries are taken very seriously by government.
While it is clear that there is a lot more work to do for the government in the ACT and right around the country to improve road safety, it will continue to be a significant focus for our government under the national road safety strategy and our own ACT road safety strategy and action plans. Over the past two years, in response to the changing road environment, different travel patterns and different modes of travel, the government has introduced substantial reform in this place and will continue to bring forward more legislative reform in the future to address issues that arise in relation to road safety.
Notably, there are different views on these issues when these reforms come forward, and, most notably, some of the changes that we have made have been around improved protections for vulnerable road users which were introduced and passed this year. Those have included penalties for negligent driving, particularly negligent driving occasioning actual bodily harm. Mr Hanson supported the watering down of penalties for those who are negligent on our roads and cause harm to another person, by letting them get off with an infringement notice rather than going before a court. It is often difficult to reconcile the Liberals’ positions with the hard-line positions that they take on other matters like sentencing.