Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4615 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Ms Follett for the question. I seem to recall that my advice to the Estimates Committee was that the view of the Government was that there are certain priorities for the spending of the money raised from the road rescue fee. They include the creation of a full-time fifth ambulance crew in the Territory - a long-promised goal - and some upgrade of trauma care at the Canberra Hospital, and other things beyond that which relate to road trauma would be considered, depending on priorities. It is true that the ACT has had a fairly serious rise in its accident rate in the course of this year. There has been a total of 15 deaths on our roads - that includes Jervis Bay - or about 4.3 people killed per 100,000 population. That is an increase on previous years, certainly, and a matter of considerable concern. I might point out, however, to keep it in perspective, that that is still the lowest rate of road deaths of any State in Australia. The next safest jurisdiction after the ACT is Victoria, with 9.3 people killed per 100,000, compared with our 4.3. So, although it is an increase on our previous base, it is not exactly a crisis in terms at least of what is happening in other States.

We need to consider how we will bring down that high road toll. I certainly am concerned to talk to parties involved in the alleviation of those issues, and they range across a large number of government agencies. Ms Follett's suggestion was that there ought to be some attention given to a higher police presence in these areas. Members will be aware that Operation Raid, which is a joint operation with New South Wales, is being given priority by the Australian Federal Police, and we will ensure that our effort in that respect is kept to a high standard.

However, I think the issues Ms Follett raises are concerns that should be taken seriously by the Government, and I am prepared to consider whether we should direct additional resources into this area. Clearly, that may or may not entail some hypothecation of the money taken from the road rescue fee. Wherever the money comes from, it ought to be considered in the context of the problems we have had in recent days, and I am prepared to consider what Ms Follett has put to me.

MS FOLLETT: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker, and it is really just to re-emphasise the point. Minister, in speaking on the road rescue fee, you did concede, in relation to the possible expenditure of the money, "In a sense, it depends on how the bidding for the use of that money within the Government works out". My question to you is: Will you bid for that money to be used for increased road safety? Have you made such a bid and, if so, what is the extent of your bid?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I think I have answered that question already. I have said that it is possible the Government will take the view that the road toll warrants a higher level of reaction than we have put in place already. A number of issues have already been flagged to members of the Assembly, including changing the drivers licensing arrangements, which we see as part of the continuum of issues that deal with this problem. I have indicated already that we will have a look at that issue and, if it is appropriate to bid for resources from that pool, that will be a matter we will give consideration to.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .