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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3405 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

If you are doing the right thing on the roads, Mr Speaker, there is no reason to worry about this Bill. What it means is that if you abuse the privilege of driving on our roads the privilege is taken away. If you want to keep offending, the courts will have the power to take the car away. Street racing and burnouts on public streets have absolutely nothing to offer our community. There is no room for this type of behaviour in our suburbs. We have to send a message and put up a deterrent. Heavy fines, seizure of vehicles and loss of licences do that.

Mr Speaker, the thrust of this Bill is to strengthen the laws in order to impress safer attitudes on our roads, and also to eliminate pollution problems associated with the practice of street racing and burnouts. I also urge the Assembly to embrace this Bill and give a large group of long-suffering residents some well-earned peace of mind.

I understand that there are some amendments to be proposed to this Bill. I also understand that there is a proposal to send this matter to a committee for further consideration. I encourage members to deal with the detail stage here today. Make a concerted effort to debate the concerns today and reach an outcome that is going to have a benefit for the ACT community during the coming Christmas period.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (5.43): Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 174, I move:

That the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill (No. 4) 1998, together with the amendments by Mr Hargreaves and the Minister for Urban Services, be referred to the Standing Committee on Urban Services.

MR OSBORNE (5.44): Mr Speaker, I will not be supporting the motion because I cannot understand what has happened with this Bill in the last 24 hours. My understanding was that it was to be passed today. When Mr Rugendyke tabled the Bill a couple of months ago it was designed to assist the police during the Summernats period. It would appear that that is not going to happen. Obviously something has happened in the last 24 hours on the part of the Government because they have now decided to send it off to a committee. I will not be supporting the motion. I am pleased that the Government let us know after lunchtime that it was going off to a committee. I am disappointed that this Bill, which allegedly had the support of the majority of members, now will not be debated until next year. As I said, the main intent of Mr Rugendyke's Bill was for the Summernats. I think it is pointless sending it off to the committee at this stage. I want to register my dissent at what the Government is doing with this.

MR BERRY (5.46): Labor will be supporting this referral to the committee. We expressed our views in relation to the matter. I do not need to go over the ground again except to say, Mr Speaker, that we would have preferred to see the Bill defeated at the in-principle stage. We will be satisfied for it to go off to a committee and we will be happy to take into account the committee's recommendations and report in due course. We did criticise some aspects of the Bill and if something positive can come out of it we would welcome that.

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