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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4512 ..


Debate resumed from 26 September 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (5.36): Mr Speaker, I have been deserted by my crossbench colleagues.

Mr De Domenico: They wanted to refer it to a committee.

MR WHITECROSS: That is okay. We can still refer it to a committee. The Labor Party will be supporting this Bill in principle. This idea of introducing a competency-based approach to driver training as an alternative to, rather than a substitute for, the existing system of testing of learner drivers prior to issuing a licence has been around for some time. There are a number of other issues raised in this Bill to do with changes to the probationary period. I have seen a number of amendments circulated by some of my colleagues, dealing with other issues to do with how the road rules might apply to learner permits. Mr Osborne is concerned to know everyone's gender, I notice from one of his amendments.

Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will be supporting this Bill in principle. I understand that there is a proposal to refer it to the Legal Affairs Committee for further consideration. The Labor Party will be supporting that in due course. If there is one thing which has concerned me about this proposal, which is modelled on a scheme in South Australia, it is the lack of information about evaluation of the South Australian scheme. Neither in the Estimates Committee nor in private briefings have I been able to obtain any real information about what the South Australian experience is. I am led to believe that evaluations are being undertaken of attitudes to the new scheme and of how it has worked in practice. It would be interesting to see some evaluation of this scheme before rushing into change. In principle, the proposed changes seem like an improvement. For that reason, we will be supporting the Bill in principle and we will be supporting the proposal to refer it to the Legal Affairs Committee.

MS HORODNY (5.38): Mr Speaker, this Bill represents a quite radical change to the way that learner drivers are tested for their licence. It establishes an accreditation system for driving instructors and allows accredited instructors to issue to their students certificates of competency which are then taken to the Motor Registry and used as justification for issuing a drivers licence. The certificates of competency are obtained through the introduction of a logbook system whereby learner drivers taking lessons from an accredited instructor will complete a logbook in which the instructor will sign off each driving competency as it is achieved until all the required competencies have been attained. Learner drivers will still have the option of being taught informally by family and friends and of having a one-off driving test conducted by the government examiner.

We support moves to improve the skills of learner drivers. Given that 17- to 24-year-old drivers are involved in 40 per cent of accidents, it is absolutely essential that young drivers receive as much training as they can before they are allowed onto the roads by themselves. We are probably all aware of car accidents in which young drivers have been

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