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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2288 ..

Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Smyth, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill removes the sunset clause for speed and red light cameras. This will allow the speed and red light camera program to continue to operate, furthering the government's commitment to provide safer roads in the ACT.

The value of the ACT's speed camera program has been demonstrated by the independent evaluation of the program by ARRB Transport Research, one of Australia's leading transport research companies. The evaluation report provides the following findings: the level of drivers exceeding the speed limit has fallen by 26 per cent on the speed camera network and 22 per cent on non-camera sites; there has been a dramatic reduction in those exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 kilometres per hour, with a 59 per cent fall on speed camera roads and a 39 per cent fall on other roads; and, of the initial 27 speed camera sites, injury crashes have fallen by 36 per cent.

Mr Speaker, speed cameras are having an effect on both speed and crashes in the ACT. Speeds have reduced across the ACT while speed cameras have been in operation and there has been a significant decrease in both the number and the severity of crashes at all of the initial speed camera sites. Community acceptance of the speed camera initiative has been very high. A survey in August 2000 found that speed cameras enjoyed an approval rate of about 90 per cent.

It is anticipated that the red light camera program will result in a significant reduction in road trauma. Maunsell McIntyre is evaluating the program with before and after comparisons of crashes, speed behaviour and community attitudes. The final report of the evaluation is due in October 2002. Interstate experience has shown that red light cameras can reduce serious right-angle crashes by up to 40 per cent and are also a good deterrent to speeding.

The Road Transport (Safety and Management) Act 1999 specifies that the provision for traffic offence detection devices will cease on 6 October 2001. Traffic offence detection devices include mobile speed cameras, fixed speed and red light cameras, laser speed measuring devices and radar speed measuring devices. The sunset clause applies not only to speed and red light cameras, but also to speed measuring devices used by the police when they issue on-the-spot fines for speeding. If the sunset clause is not removed, there will be virtually no enforcement of speeding offences in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, speeding is a major cause of road crashes. Extensive experience and research have shown that enforcement is the key factor in getting motorists to observe safe and legal speeds. Every Australian police force depends heavily on accurate speed

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