Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1844 ..
In endorsing this bill, the Assembly will enhance measures in the government’s ACT Road Safety Strategy 2020-25. The strategy has four key goals: reduce serious and fatal crashes, build a community that shares responsibility for road safety, change road user attitudes and behaviour through education and compliance activities, and strengthen collaboration across government and with stakeholders to improve road safety in the ACT.
I am confident that by implementing this bill we can see a reduction in the use of mobile phones on our roads. This confidence comes from the success of existing road safety cameras, which have assisted in addressing risky behaviour such as running red lights, thereby saving lives and reducing crashes. I also draw confidence from the data in New South Wales. The use of mobile phone detection cameras in that state has seen offending rates decrease by more than 80 per cent.
To help deploy these cameras on our roads, the government’s most recent budget provided almost $10 million dollars. This investment will help in the procurement of the necessary cameras as well as provide for an education awareness campaign. As I said at the outset, improving road safety is a collective task and by supporting this bill today the Assembly can play its part in providing an important enhancement to existing measures to improve road safety and assist in reducing the use of mobile phones while driving. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.56): I am really pleased to support this amendment bill. The amendment to allow mobile device detection cameras in Canberra is an important legislative change needed to tackle a growing problem on our roads. Looking at your phone for a minute might feel harmless, but if the driver of a car travelling at 60 kilometres an hour is distracted for just five seconds the car travels over 83 metres. It is so important that we tackle the problem of distracted driving to keep people safe. A lot can happen in just a few seconds on the road, as we know, and when we are travelling at tens of metres a second every second, a moment of inattention really counts.
Dealing with distracted driving is fundamentally about reducing serious injuries and deaths, and it is completely in line with the ACT governments commitment to Vision Zero—that is, zero injuries and deaths on ACT roads. We have made progress on reducing drink-driving for decades, and I am hopeful we can beat the growing problem of distracted driving with similar success. This problem is getting more serious, as almost 75 per cent of the adult Australian population own a smart phone.
I am glad the ACT government has done consultation with a broad range of groups on this legislation, and that it has been informed by the approaches taken in other states to the problem of distracted driving and their respective rollout of mobile phone detection cameras. I am confident in the approaches that the ACT government has taken to privacy and expect the government will take on good quality feedback from the community, experts and from other stakeholders as the system is rolled out.
I am glad the ACT government is taking steps to improve safety on our roads across Canberra. It is an important part of large body of work that we as a government are