Page 933 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The National Transport Commission (NTC) posted the proposed changes on its website on 9 December 2005, sent messages to approximately 2,500 registered NTC site users and referred the proposed amendments to key stakeholder organisations eg. the AAA, the Pedestrian Council of Australia, the Motor Cycle Riders Association and the Bicycle Council of Australia.

On 6 January 2006 Urban Services emailed details of the proposed changes to local key stakeholders i.e. the NRMA motoring organisation and the local TWU representative, having earlier consulted the Motorcycle Riders Association in September 2005 on issues relating to motorcyclists. It was anticipated that the motoring organisations would consult their membership through their website and publications.

On 16 January 2006 Urban Services also updated its Road Transport website, explaining the background to the proposed Australian Road Rule (ARR) amendments and providing a link to the NTC website for access to the documents and the posting of comments.

All jurisdictions undertook this level of consultation, however most expressed their dissatisfaction to the NTC about the timeframe for consultation. They said that the public consultation period was too short, especially given that it was being conducted over the Christmas - New Year holiday period.

In addition to the above level of consultation, Victoria and NSW took an additional step of placing a public notice in local newspapers on 16 and 17 January 2006 drawing the general public’s attention to the NTC website so they could access the documents and provide comments to the NTC. Although it was decided in mid January that the ACT would also issue a media release, some delay was experienced in issuing it, due primarily to difficulties conducting normal business operations at this time of year.

(2) The response to Question 1. contains the information requested by Question 2.

(3) The nationally consistent approach taken by all jurisdictions was to consult with key stakeholder organisations and post documentation on relevant websites. Members of the public who access the Road Transport website had a 19 day window in which to research the proposed changes and post their comments on the NTC’s website. ACT key stakeholders eg the motorists organisation NRMA and the TWU had 1 month in which to consult with their constituents.

For future public consultation periods of this type, jurisdictions will strongly suggest that the NTC allow a longer consultation period where the period traverses the Christmas – New Year holiday period.

(4) The concerns of the road transport authorities in the States and Territories about the short consultation period have been noted by the NTC and should ensure that a longer consultation period is established for the next package of amendments to the ARR.

Road Transport Branch is developing procedures for public consultation on proposed amendments to the ARR in consultation with the Community Engagement Unit within the Department of Urban Services.

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