Page 3668 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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an impaired fitness to drive. This bill recognises the important role of health practitioners in our efforts to reduce road trauma and strive for Vision Zero. This scheme integrates into our well-established fitness to drive framework within the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2000. The current framework requires drivers to meet nationally consistent medical standards. It allows the RTA to impose a condition, suspend, vary or cancel a driver licence where the medical standards have not been met. These decisions are supported by expert advice from medical professionals. Any person whose licence is affected by a decision made by the RTA has the right to an internal review process.

We will soon be consulting with stakeholders on draft Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Regulation 2022 (No 1), which provides a scheme focusing on mandated medical reporting for heavy vehicle drivers. All heavy vehicles on the ACT road network play a part in road safety, which is why the draft amendment regulation will propose that reporting by health practitioners is required for any heavy vehicle driver, including visiting drivers with an interstate heavy vehicle licence.

The bill also introduces a power that, if passed, will allow the draft amendment regulation to improve information-sharing arrangements with interstate licensing authorities, further strengthening the fitness to drive regime in the ACT. It is proposed that the Road Transport Authority may refer the information received from a health practitioner to the issuing jurisdiction for their consideration. This will allow for an assessment against a comparable fitness to drive scheme and any necessary changes to the interstate driver licence, further improving road safety in the ACT.

To ensure the success of the proposed reporting obligation for health practitioners, the draft amendment regulation also seeks to improve information-sharing arrangements. This will strengthen the ability for the Road Transport Authority to seek expert medical advice on reports in complex or unusual cases. The draft amendment regulation will soon be published for further consultation. We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the success of the scheme.

These reforms are an important step to ensuring that our roads are safer for all users. This bill is the first stage of our review of all road transport penalties to ensure that they are proportionate, both to the risk of harm and to other offences. The amendments are practical, increasing ACT Policing’s ability to issue on the spot licence suspensions and vehicle seizures for dangerous driving offences, which will allow them to immediately stop dangerous drivers and protect the safety of other road users by taking them and their vehicles off the road.

As Minister for Transport and City Services, I am committed to reducing the prevalence of dangerous driving by ensuring that there are appropriate sanctions for dangerous driving. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kirra Cox and Transport Canberra and City Services staff for their work in developing this bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Parton) adjourned to the next sitting.

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