Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 614 ..

Through that consultation, we have determined to proceed with the amendments that I have just outlined. We have also, through that consultation, identified a number of other areas where we believe there should be reform in relation to roads and road safety which should be pursued. We are taking further advice on some of those other proposals before formalising our position, and we will consult further.

It has been proposed to the government, and we are taking the proposal seriously, that police should, in relation to a range of high-level offences, particularly repeat drink driving, excessive or recidivist speeding, driving unlicensed—and there are very high levels of recidivism in relation to unlicensed drivers—have the power to impound and confiscate vehicles. This is a potential reform that the government is taking seriously but we do acknowledge there are some significant human rights issues in relation to the confiscation that need to be further consulted on and further considered.

The government have previously floated the prospect of naming and shaming provisions. Similarly, we are conscious of some significant privacy issues or implications. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, you have said the proposed drug-driving legislation will contain a presence/non-presence test for drugs. What technology has your department investigated that can conduct such tests?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. The issue of drug testing is a very complex and fraught issue. We are all aware of proposals that have been advanced before the Assembly previously, proposals that have been advanced by the Liberal Party, proposals that are based on a safe concentration, or a prescribed level, which presumably equates to a safe level—a prescribed concentration of drug approach to drug-driving random testing.

The approach that the government are currently exploring, which we are attracted to but which we wish to explore further—we have actually reduced it to an exposure draft of drug-driving legislation, which I will table in our next sitting for the information of members and the broader community—proposes the adoption of the Victorian methodology in relation to drug testing and the Victorian scheme. There is a significant difference.

One of the issues that we have with the proposals in relation to a drug testing regime that goes to a prescribed concentration relates to very serious concerns that have been advanced to us by technical experts that the technology is simply not good enough or will have the capacity to produce in a timely fashion drug concentration levels in drivers. It would be difficult, uncertain, and I think most importantly in the context of deterrents and law enforcement, extremely time consuming. It has been suggested to me that under a prescribed concentrated level approach it could be, for instance, that a random roadside drug testing facility would test perhaps no more than five or six drivers an hour. In that context it would have absolutely no utility as a deterrent or law enforcement policy.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video