Page 4792 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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Our police and urban services minister has argued that his government will not consider introducing drug-driving legislation in the ACT because in Victoria there were some teething problems where some individuals were said to have falsely tested positive to drugs. However, these problems were dealt with. The benefits of having a random drug-testing regime in Victoria have now certainly outweighed any problems that occurred during the earlier stages of the trial that was undertaken; hence Victoria has now decided to extend the drug-testing regime beyond the initial trial, which was hailed a success.

Five to six months ago, there were nine cases of unlawful drug-testing charges laid. Undoubtedly there were. There were nine mistakes made where people were, unfortunately, falsely charged allegedly for having taken drugs. Those particular cases illustrated some weaknesses in the system which the Victorian government and those running the trial ironed out.

What they have indeed found since is that, with the running of the trial, two things have happened. They have already begun to notice a decrease in drug-driving. Secondly, they have found, by undertaking random drug testing, an incredible number of people driving drug affected. Regardless of the problems that they had to iron out some five or six months ago, the government in Victoria has determined that the trial now be formally mobilised into a program that is of great benefit to that state and to the community safety policy of that state.

The legislation in other jurisdictions is now working towards keeping drug-affected and dangerous drivers off the streets, thereby effectively reducing the chance that these drivers now have to be involved in or cause an accident. Therefore, John Hargreaves’s arguments against introducing such legislation in the ACT are simply not logical. I am sure the families of those who have tragically lost loved ones in the ACT as a result of drug-driving would be keen to see such a deterrent brought into play, but we know of course that that will not affect Mr Hargreaves’s thinking.

If this minister—and the Chief Minister pooh-poohs this legislation—is serious about reducing the death toll, if this minister is serious about helping to reduce the number of road accidents in the ACT, if this minister is serious about tackling the growing drug problem, which in many ways has overtaken alcohol in this community, he will encourage his government to support this bill. But do not hold your breath, because the track record of this minister and this Chief Minister is that you keep your heads firmly inserted in the sand, take no notice of sensible policy in any other state and do not give a damn about enhancing community safety.

I call upon this government to pass this legislation or at least to steal it, re-badge it and bring it back as soon as possible after Christmas.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves) adjourned to the next sitting.

Limitation Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 21 September 2005, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:

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