Page 750 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2006

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There are a number of other areas that spring to mind which are much more significant in terms of the functional review, to get you out of the economic mess you seem to have got yourselves into. I certainly plead with the government and strongly advise you to have regard to what has been said here today by the four members—it has made quite a lot of sense—and certainly by the various members of the ACT community who are making their representations to you now.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Road safety

Debate resumed from 14 December 2005, on motion by Ms MacDonald:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises that driver inattention and speed are major contributors to road accidents;

(2) expresses concern that some drivers continue to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol in spite of the overwhelming evidence that these substances reduce drivers’ abilities to judge, concentrate and react to road situations;

(3) acknowledges that keeping ACT roads safe is a shared responsibility;

(4) urges drivers, riders, cyclists, pedestrians and anyone else who uses our roads to remain vigilant regarding road safety, particularly during holiday periods;

(5) notes that the 2005-2006 ACT Road Safety Action Plan identifies key actions that aim to reduce deaths and injuries on ACT roads; and

(6) recognises the important role educational road safety programs and initiatives play in increasing road users’ skills and raising awareness about road safety practices in the ACT.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.05): I thank Ms MacDonald for raising this very important issue. The government is acutely aware of road safety issues confronting the ACT. Canberra has traditionally had relatively low crash rates compared with other jurisdictions, and this is due in part to our good road system, our urbanised environment and our relatively modern vehicle fleet.

However, we must not become complacent. As we are all aware, the ACT tragically saw a significant increase in the number of road fatalities in 2005, with 26 deaths. I remind everyone that this is more than a number or a statistic. Twenty-six individuals lost their lives, and 25 families lost their loved ones.

To date in 2006, we have experienced two fatal crashes in the ACT. However, ACT residents have also been represented in fatal crashes interstate. Preliminary data available on the 2005 road crash statistics indicates that 92 people were admitted to hospital and a further 452 sought medical treatment. This represents a 26 per cent decrease in hospital admissions and a 22 per cent increase in minor casualties.

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