SPEED DETECTION

Wednesday 25 February, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (11:36): I also rise today to commend the member for Mitchell for moving this motion. He is a wonderful member who is in touch with his local community and, as he pointed out, there are a number of perceptions out there in relation to this issue.

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (11:36): I also rise today to commend the member for Mitchell for moving this motion. He is a wonderful member who is in touch with his local community and, as he pointed out, there are a number of perceptions out there in relation to this issue.

In my first year in this place I have noticed a number of perceptions out there in relation to speed cameras. I have heard many things, and I probably get one or two issues a week come into my electoral office in relation to this. Some of the comments you get are things like, 'Speed cameras are all about raising revenue.' We work in an era and an industry where perception is reality, so it is important that we note these comments and work on these perceptions to make sure that the facts are out there.

I have also heard, out in the electorate, that perhaps speed cameras do not make a large difference to road safety. Again, as members of parliament we have a role to combat that perception and help people to understand why they are in place. There is also a perception that they are not accurate, and we are also told by members of the public that they might be in sneaky positions. We are also told that motorists do not have enough warning before coming upon the cameras. We are told that they are so unpopular and we are asked why, if they are so unpopular, the government keeps putting them in. Is it only to raise revenue or is it more than that? Other comments I get out in the electorate include things like, 'Why aren't the police pursuing real criminals instead of innocent motorists?' It goes on and on.

So there are a number of common perceptions out in the electorate. I think it is essential that we address these, and I commend the member for Mitchell for raising these very important issues in his motion. Whether we like it or not, there is a perception out there of revenue raising, and it is important that we direct our attention towards the relationship between the location of speed cameras and the incidence of road accidents. Surely these speed cameras should be in the best positions to ensure that the road toll comes down, that fatalities come down. This motion will allow the committee, once it is set up, to explore and analyse that issue.

We also know that there are zones in our suburbs, especially in a city electorate like mine, where speed limits constantly change. They constantly change from 60 to 50 to 40 km/h in some areas and the effectiveness of speed limit signage is probably not where it needs to be. That is extremely frustrating and it affects members of the public in our electorates. It is not necessarily white-collar crime crooks who are being nabbed: it is the mums and dads and the elderly citizens who are driving during the week, it is the people dropping their kids off at school. These are real-life people who are affected by these penalties.

We certainly owe it to ourselves to investigate the penalties that the member for Mitchell has established. He has even asked for a review of the fines imposed. Are the fines where they need to be? Do they reach the right balance between punishment and keeping the road toll down? These are all valid concerns that have been raised by the member for Mitchell, and I have no problem in assisting him and supporting his motion.

The member for Mitchell also spoke about the perception out there about police. A lot of the time police bear the brunt of law enforcement, and it is not a nice thing. If someone is doing 58 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, I am sure it is not a nice thing for a police officer to go over and hand them a fine of several hundred dollars. It is important that we educate the community better on this issue, as to why these things are happening and the impacts of speed and the facts on speed, which I would also like to briefly mention.

Obviously travel speeds affect not only the risk of crash involvement but also the severity of crashes, as well as injuries. We all know that speed is certainly a factor in serious crashes; no-one is disputing that. If everyone did the right thing and drove within the speed limit, I am sure that lives would be saved and serious injuries would be prevented. It goes without saying. However, we see that the road toll is higher this year than last year. No matter how many resources we pump into it, no matter how much education we bring to the public's attention, it is still a massive issue. Things such as stopping distance and the impact of speeding on crash risks are clear issues that are still not getting out there. So, any motion that helps the public to be educated on these issues is certainly a good thing.

Police data on all speed camera fines issued in 2013-14 show that the lowest speeding offence in a 40 km/h zone was 48 km/h; in a 50 km/h zone it was 58 km/h; in an 80 km/h zone it was 89 km/h; in a 100 km/h zone it was 110 km/h; and in a 110 km/h zone it was 120 km/h. This data should certainly be questioning why this is happening and if there is perhaps more merit in moving these speed cameras. One classic example is where trucks incur fines. They might have to go over the speed limit for a fraction of a second and it might happen to be where a camera is located and they get nabbed.

The essential part of this motion reiterates the fact that we need to try to reduce fatalities on our roads. We need to reduce the road toll. It is not about revenue raising. It is an easy pinch for the government and it is not necessarily an attractive issue for them, but it is not just about revenue raising. We need to be doing more than just revenue raising.

Of the top 10 speed camera sites—and I am proud to say that none of the sites are in Hartley, and I hope none are in your electorate, Deputy Speaker—Montacute Road, Ingle Farm is the number one site. There were 10,061 fines at a value of $3.3 million. It is extraordinary. The revenue that is being raised at some of these sites is extraordinary. There is no doubt that the balance is not there. The balance between revenue raised and the reduction in road fatalities is not there, and that is the balance that we need to strike. We need to get that right. We need to be better at it.

I commend the member for Mitchell for his motion. As I said, he is a member of parliament who is in touch with his electorate. This is a massive issue in the electorate, and I will certainly commend any motion to the house which aims to reduce the road toll, reduce fatalities on our roads, and gets that balance right in relation to speed camera fines.