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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1819 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

My understanding is that the then Police Minister, Terry Connolly, wanted that whole approach, Elizabeth, because I think that is something new for Canberra and we need to make sure that the community does accept it for the safety measure that it is.

I said to the officials, "You cannot be right. Ms Follett clearly remembers having had that program authorised to go ahead for a speed camera trial. She told us on the radio just last Friday". They politely pointed out the facts, which were: A decision was made to put that purchase of a speed camera in the 1993 budget. However, on 11 February 1994 the Department of Urban Services and the Australian Federal Police took a proposal to Mr Connolly to can the speed camera idea. For the $35,000 that they would pay for one speed camera, the Australian Federal Police could buy six laser speed detection devices - the commonly known and seen laser guns. Mr Connolly agreed to the proposal on that day.

Let us look at the advantages of those lasers over cameras; advantages which Mr Connolly obviously saw but Ms Follett did not. First of all, the cost is very greatly different. You can buy six laser guns; you can buy only one camera for the same amount. The laser guns are versatile. They are easy to move and to use and are very mobile. The cost to use them is also very greatly different. It costs up to $75 to print photographs in relation to one offence. Lasers cost nothing to process. Cameras require supervision. You do not leave a camera unattended. They are always accompanied by a police officer. It is just as easy to use a laser gun if you are going to have a police officer there anyway.

Let me put on the record very clearly that the Government is happy to consider all the recommendations from the Jamieson Foley study and will be doing so having due regard to other sources of advice as well. But traffic specialists in the ACT Government and the Australian Federal Police do not see speed cameras as a panacea in regard to speed problems.

Ms Follett: That is because they have changed their minds, Gary. They did at one stage; believe me.

MR HUMPHRIES: Ms Follett says that they have changed their minds.

Ms Follett: They do not dream up these schemes.

MR HUMPHRIES: Be careful. We already have one ex-Minister who has had his reputation shattered by certain allegations. He has a bit of a deterioration in the old grey cells. The advice to me is that the Australian Federal Police and officers in Urban Services have been fairly consistent in their advice that speed cameras and red-light cameras present a number of problems and should be examined very carefully by any government before they are agreed to, which is precisely what I said last week when I launched the Jamieson Foley study.

Ms Follett: But you said that you did not want them, Gary.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, I did not.

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