Page 2581 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 25 September 2007

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The reason that is important in the current context is that we have seen great debate around Canberra about the appropriateness or otherwise of speed cameras. We are being told they are vital for all sorts of statistical reasons, but that does not sit comfortably with the scenario where statistics and data are not being promptly released. If that is the primary motivation and not revenue, as is claimed by many, we need to ensure that data that is contemporary and current is there to defend those initiatives.

Amongst the seven recommendations in the Auditor-General’s report, recommendation 5 urged an improvement in processes for ensuring the quality of driving instructors, and it listed a range of suggestions in that regard. It also highlighted an area of interest to me—that is, the increase in accidents involving motorcyclists. It was recommended that the department of urban services should review the regime for motorcycle licensing with a view to introducing an on-road component.

I have mentioned on previous occasions work undertaken in South Australia some years ago that showed an extremely high correlation between admissions to emergency wards in a range of hospitals surveyed throughout South Australia who were motorcyclists and the presence of illicit substances in the bloodstream of people involved in those accidents. My colleague Mr Pratt has spoken in the past about his advocacy of random drug testing, which I fully support. Had this inquiry proceeded, it would have been an opportunity to unearth some of those statistics which have clearly identified a high prevalence of illicit drug usage amongst cyclists involved in motor vehicle accidents. Finally, recommendation 7 of the Auditor-General’s report was:

The Department of Urban Services should prepare options for Government on measures to improve driver attitude and awareness such as:

a. requiring all novice drivers to undertake a driver attitude and awareness course before a full licence is granted;

b. compulsory remedial training for licence-holders after serious or numerous offences; and

c. enhanced road safety awareness campaigns.

The first and second paragraphs of that recommendation warrant examination and consideration, as they could contribute considerably to an improvement in our road safety situation.

Those are my comments on these reports. We have to be very conscious of the fact that resource considerations have coloured the views of my colleagues in terms of not being able to proceed with inquiries in this regard. I am always very wary of saying, “Let’s not put it further because we don’t have the resources.” We still have a year to go in this Assembly before the next election. I hope we do not see in the future too many inquiries that have been diligently brought before this place by the Auditor-General speared on the basis of a lack of resources.

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