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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 3 May 2012) . . Page.. 1904 ..

Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2012

Debate resumed from 29 March 2012, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.28): The opposition will be supporting the Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2012. However, in doing so, I will flag some issues.

The intention of the bill, as far as we can see, is to refine the process relating to the submission of statutory declarations on issued infringements and thus reduce the number of false and incomplete statutory declarations that are currently being completed. A rough estimation provided by the directorate is that five to 10 per cent of all statutory declarations received by the road service authority are fraudulent. Often these declarations are incomplete, whether deliberately or otherwise, and equally as often some declarations are completely falsified.

While there is a loophole available for offenders to avoid losing any demerit points off their drivers licence, we can be certain that this loophole will be exploited. In order to curb this practice the bill includes amendments that include that the responsible person for a vehicle take all responsible steps to identify and locate the person who is in control of the vehicle at the time of the infringement. The concept of all reasonable steps is defined in the bill and includes completing a new form of the declaration in a prescribed form and the ability for the authority to request further information from the parties as required.

There is an element of the bill that does hold some concern for the opposition, and that is the new requirement for corporations. Under new provisions in this bill corporations will be compelled to identify any driver involved in an offence. If the corporation fails on two or more occasions to identify the responsible driver, the penalty will include registration restrictions for the vehicle involved.

The explanatory statement states that the bill also contains new provisions to encourage corporations to identify the drivers of vehicles involved in offences that carry demerit points, to enable demerit points for those offences to be recorded against the driver licence record of the person who actually committed the offence. Corporations that fail on two or more occasions to take all responsible steps to assist the administering authority to identify the driver of the vehicle registered to the corporation that is involved in an offence will be advised that registration sanctions will be applied to the corporation’s vehicle, or another vehicle owned by the corporation if the corporation has disposed of its interest in the vehicle involved in the relevant offence. This provision will have the greatest impact on corporations with medium to large fleets. Currently, ACT legislation requires corporations to pay five times the penalty for an individual if they do not identify the driver. The majority of corporations choose this option.

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