Page 847 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009

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the infringement that triggered the demerit point suspension or cancellation. At this point, the person may have forgotten that he or she had reached the demerit points limit and that he or she faced a further period of suspension or cancellation.

The new provisions insert an additional notice requirement into the provisions of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 and the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2000. This additional notice requirement will ensure that when a suspended driver reaches the demerit points limit, he or she will be sent a notice to explain that the driver has incurred a demerit point suspension or a cancellation, if applicable. The demerit point suspension or cancellation will take effect after the current period of suspension ends and the person will be sent a further notice before the demerit point suspension or cancellation takes effect to let the person know when that will occur.

The new notice requirement will ensure that the drivers are fully aware of the effect of reaching the demerit points limit for their type of licence, and it 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. I would like to remind members that if drivers are concerned that they are close to their demerit points limit, they are able to check their current demerit points without charge, either by attending an ACT government shopfront or by phoning Canberra Connect.

The second set of amendments contains minor drafting changes to the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999. These technical amendments simplify the drafting of several provisions in the act and provide a generic description of the traffic light offences in division 1 of part 6 of the Australian road rules. That provision contains the basic traffic light offences, such as failing to stop at a red light and proceeding through a red light or red arrow. These amendments remove any confusion about the red light offences in the Australian road rules that may be detected by red light cameras.

The existing provisions were drafted before the Australian road rules were released by the National Road Transport Commission, now the National Transport Commission, in 2003. The amendments will ensure that the provisions of the act dealing with the use of red light traffic cameras align properly with the wording used in the offences in division 1 of part 6 of the Australian road rules. The proposed amendments do not affect the contents of the Australian road rules, which will continue to apply to ACT drivers.

Mr Speaker, I turn to the genesis of this piece of legislation. How do I put this? It came about because people had experienced confusion. It was brought to my attention in the first part that they were driving whilst suspended and they did not know about it. They were saying to me, “I have got this notice of cancellation. I did not realise what was going on.” What became abundantly clear to me when I was minister for transport was that, for the want of a notice to somebody to say that if your behaviour is such you are likely to cop a second suspension, these issues and these confusions may very well be removed. We toyed with the idea of tightening up the legislation and these sorts of things, only to sort of apply the ordinary-man-in-the-street test—what would I like if it were me that was in this position?

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