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MOTOR TRAFFIC (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995
Debate resumed from 3 May 1995, on motion by Mr Moore:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR HIRD (10.53): Under the provisions of the ACT Motor Traffic Act 1936 vehicles are currently not permitted to turn left on a red signal at an intersection without a slip lane. A slip lane is often provided for the exclusive use of vehicles turning left. However, there are a number of locations, in particular in the central business district, where it is not possible to provide such a facility. The Government supports the proposed amendment to allow turn left on red facilities and the modifications of traffic light controllers at identified sites.
This legislation will provide improved efficiency for up to 30 intersections where the proposed amendment could apply, out of the 170 signalled intersections in the Territory. The sites will be chosen on a case-by-case basis and will need to meet the necessary safety criteria. Pedestrian safety at these sites is crucial, and the legislation will require vehicles to stop before continuing. Each site will need to be clearly signposted. The cost of these installations is approximately $300. This legislation is consistent with legislation in other parts of Australia, in particular New South Wales, and will be in line with the national road traffic code which will take effect in another one to two years. I support this amendment to the Motor Traffic Act, as does the Government.
MR CONNOLLY (10.55): Mr Speaker, the Opposition is happy to support this amendment in its latest form. The original amendment proposed by Mr Moore was one that we would have had some concerns with, because there was an absolute provision that would have allowed a left turn at any red light. That has some general problems, but it has particular problems in the ACT where we do have interurban roads that have higher speed limits than 60 kilometres an hour. It had the potential to create some difficulties. The amendment in its current form essentially provides this ability only where there is a sign. Mr Hird, I presume speaking on behalf of the Minister, today has indicated that this would be done on a case-by-case basis and would be carefully looked at.
Perhaps, from the Opposition’s point of view, we might suggest to the Government that, if it wants to remain in office, any traffic lights between here and Reid might be a good place to start because, clearly, Mr Moore was sitting at a traffic light one day and it entered his head that he should not be waiting. So, he proposed an amendment. I would suggest that, in the event that Mr Moore is held up in a traffic jam in Northbourne Avenue, we may be looking at amendments to provide for the use of the median strip on Northbourne Avenue, at least for MLAs’ cars to travel on. But, subject to the suggestion that the best place to start would be the traffic lights between here and Reid - - -