Page 2299 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 August 2017

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Later in 2018 a second stage of reforms will be introduced to support the operation of the light rail as a public passenger transport mode. The second stage of legislative reforms will ensure that there are appropriate powers in relation to setting and collecting fares, including powers to deal with fare evasion. It will prioritise the safety and amenity of light rail passengers, ensuring a seamless customer experience across transport modes.

This is an exciting time for Canberra. This bill is another significant step in our journey towards a truly integrated public transport system. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (4.39), in reply: I am pleased to speak to the Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. As I mentioned when I presented this bill on 8 June, this is a significant step in the delivery of a modern and sustainable public transport network for Canberra. The amendments made by this bill will deliver the first stage of reforms to the territory’s road transport legislation to support the safe operation of light rail vehicles in the territory’s road environment.

This bill ensures that drivers of light rail vehicles are subject, with a few exceptions, to all road rules applying to drivers of other vehicles. If a driver is detected breaking a road rule, such as running a red light or speeding, they can be issued with an infringement notice, face a fine and potentially lose their licence. All drivers of a light rail vehicle will be required to have a full car driver licence. Introducing a light rail driver licence would be unnecessarily bureaucratic and not consistent with the approach adopted in other jurisdictions. Extensive training will be provided to all light rail drivers on operating a light rail vehicle.

People involved in an accident with a light rail vehicle where the driver of the light rail vehicle is at fault will be covered under the ACT’s compulsory third-party insurance scheme in the same way as any other person injured in the territory by an at-fault public employee driver. A driver of a light rail vehicle is subject to the same requirements that apply to drivers of other vehicles that are involved in an accident. A police officer can require the driver to be tested for alcohol, drugs or both.

This bill extends the offence of taking a motor vehicle without consent to include all vehicles. This is a lesser offence than theft and is commonly used where a person has taken a vehicle for a joyride. An essential element of the offence of theft is that the person intended to permanently deprive the owner of use of the vehicle. The track-based nature of light rail means that it is extremely difficult for a person to remove or conceal a light rail vehicle. This makes it difficult to prove the offence of theft and there are limited alternative offences available. These are the legal niceties of these offences, colleagues, and I guess these are the things we need to sort out. The extension of this offence to all vehicles addresses the potential harm caused by the act of joyriding and ensures that appropriate sanctions exist for the taking of all vehicles without the consent of the owner, whether a car, bus, a truck or light rail vehicle.

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