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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1843 ..


This review would seek to: firstly, ensure there are no unintended consequences; secondly, ensure reasonable avenues for defendants who wish to prove their innocence; and thirdly, ensure the integrity of all other privacy and human rights aspects. The requests for an adequate lead time and a review of this amended bill are sensible and give an opportunity for community input. As I have said, the Canberra Liberals will support this bill.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.51): I will make some brief remarks to support this excellent bill brought forward by Minister Steel. Keeping us safe on our roads is a collective challenge. As government we need to work to get the policies and the laws right and work with our regulators—Access Canberra and ACT Policing—to support their enforcement efforts.

As a community, we need to take great care on our roads. We all understand the dangers distracted drivers can bring to ACT roads. A distracted driver can easily speed, cross into another lane, miss hazards and have less time to react. Each of these is a danger to the driver, their passengers, other road users and innocent bystanders. With the advent of technology, we have seen a growth in more ways to be distracted while driving, perhaps none more so than mobile phones. Mobile phones are no longer bricks that can just make calls; nowadays these devices are smart computers that can do a range of things. And, as technology and use has evolved, it is important for us to update and modernise our regulatory framework to ensure we are preventing their use in cars to distract drivers but also using technology to help improve road safety. It is important that the reforms proposed in this bill will help tackle the increasing use of mobile phones on our roads, which is an area of concern to ACT Policing.

By proposing this bill, the government is seeking to simplify the road transport legislation, and in doing so, the bill maintains the integrity of the regulatory framework for road safety cameras. If passed, the bill will make it easier for the government to respond to road safety issues by more easily adopting emerging technology that can help improve road safety. For example, another jurisdiction has announced the use of road safety cameras to ensure drivers and their passengers are wearing seatbelts. Using technology to respond to emerging road safety will enhance measures available to government, and I support the balanced and considered approach this bill takes. The bill also seeks to remove the current exemption which permits a driver to pass a mobile device to a passenger. The evidence is very clear that such actions can contribute to driver distraction and pose a serious risk to safety on our roads.

As technology emerges, it is also important to be able to share data with researchers and others seeking to improve road safety. The bill allows the sharing of de-identified data for this purpose. In doing so, it provides privacy protections through strict safeguards. This bill is no silver bullet. Rather, it is a considered and thoughtful public policy which adds to the suite of measures available to government.


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