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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2030 ..

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

Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2008

Mr Hargreaves, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (10.49): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill amends provisions in the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 and the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2000 dealing with demerit points. Under the demerit points scheme if a person incurs more than the specified number of demerit points for that person’s licence category within a three-year period because a person has committed traffic infringements that attract demerit points the person’s licence will be suspended or cancelled. When the relevant number of demerit points has been recorded the person is sent a notice advising that the person’s licence will be suspended or cancelled, as the case may be, from the date of effect set out in the notice.

The proposed amendments in the bill apply where a person whose licence has already been suspended nevertheless continues to drive, incurs demerit points and reaches the relevant number of demerit points to trigger a demerit point suspension or, for restricted and probationary licence holders, a licence cancellation. Under the current legislation a driver in this situation will not be sent a notice about the impending demerit points until the person’s existing suspension is lifted, which may be several months after the driver committed the infringement that triggered the demerit point suspension.

The proposed amendments will require the Road Transport Authority to send an interim notice to drivers in this position to inform them that they have incurred the demerit points. The notice will tell them that their licence will be suspended or, in the case of probationary and restricted licence holders, cancelled. It will also tell them that the impending licence suspension or cancellation for excessive demerit points is in addition to the existing licence suspension and that they will be sent a further notice about the demerit points suspension or cancellation when their existing suspension ends.

The new notice requirement will ensure that drivers are fully aware of the effect of reaching the demerit points limit for their type of licence and will enable affected drivers to make more informed decisions about their options, including future transport arrangements, before the demerit point suspension or cancellation takes effect. For example, a driver may decide to take steps to bring his or her existing suspension to an end by paying any outstanding fines, thereby bringing forward the start of the demerit point suspension. Alternatively, eligible drivers may take the

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