Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2619 ..
MR OSBORNE (3.30): Mr Speaker, I rise in support of this piece of legislation. I, like Mr Hargreaves, have some amendments. I will speak to them when I move them.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (3.31), in reply: I thank Ms Tucker and Mr Osborne for their comments and for their support for this Bill. Mr Hargreaves in his speech made some very interesting comments that I really do think have to be brought to the attention of the public. The point here is that Mr Hargreaves, on behalf of the Labor Party, seems to think that you can speed safely for two months and get a warning for your first offence simply because you have been caught by a speed camera.
It would be interesting to note the logic that he uses to get to that position. Speeding is speeding, whether you are caught by an officer on a motor cycle or by an officer with an apparatus such as a speed camera, and speeding, as Ms Tucker pointed out so well, is not acceptable. Last year in the ACT there were something like 22 deaths and 700 serious injuries from motor vehicle accidents. The whole debate seems to have been a distancing exercise on behalf of the Labor Party. They are the ones who have constantly made reference to revenue raising, yet Mr Hargreaves in his opening remarks in this debate today actually said that speed cameras work in the States and were really good and that we should be endorsing them. Why not get straight into it? That is quite amazing. Actually, it is not amazing; the Labor Party is just out of touch with the public.
It is quite interesting to look at the research that the NRMA did on this subject. Members opposite are always after more research. The NRMA did some research on this subject and found - these are the NRMA's words, not mine - that Canberrans have a high awareness and understanding of how speed cameras work.
Mr Hargreaves: Sixty people.
MR SMYTH: Are you criticising the NRMA's research, Mr Hargreaves? Mr Speaker, it should go on the record that Mr Hargreaves interjects doubting the validity of the NRMA's research. It said that Canberrans had a high awareness and understanding of how speed cameras work. The NRMA also concluded that Canberrans knew that they already seemed to be well-established outside the ACT and considered it inevitable that they would enter the ACT. The two most important parts are that Canberrans actually believe that speed cameras were a proven deterrent and that Canberrans saw speed cameras as a solution to the speeding problem. It seems that everybody agrees on that, except the Labor Party. I guess that is what we have come to expect of them.
Mr Hargreaves went on about the five Es - education, engineering, evaluation, encouragement and enforcement - and there was the occasional grudging acknowledgment that the Government was doing some of those things. Mr Speaker, we do all of them. We are leading the world in driver education and the attitude of new drivers next year will keep us there. There is a lot of interest in the program that we are developing to make sure that before we allow our young drivers out on the road they are actually well qualified to handle the situations that they will find.