Wednesday 03 March, 2021

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (17:03): I also rise to speak to the bill. As we have been told, the primary death by dangerous driving offence is found in section 19A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (CLCA), which relates to the unlawful killing of another person as a result of culpable, reckless or negligent driving.

The maximum penalty for a first offence is imprisonment for 15 years and mandatory licence disqualification for at least 10 years. The maximum penalty for a first offence which is an aggravated offence, or for a subsequent offence, is imprisonment for life and mandatory licence disqualification for at least 10 years.

In some instances, a lesser charge may be proceeded with, such as section 45(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, which provides that it is an offence to drive without due care or attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road. Causing death is an aggravating factor and carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 12 months and mandatory licence disqualification of not less than six months.

These will be the toughest or equal toughest of these sorts of penalties in the country. However, after what has been a thorough examination of the law, we have identified a gap that needs to be fixed to continue to improve safety on our roads.

This bill imposes an immediate licence suspension or disqualification when a person is charged with causing death by dangerous driving. This will ensure that all offenders who are charged with this offence are prevented from driving, not only those who are arrested or those who are bailed and may continue to keep driving until they are found guilty. In other circumstances at the extreme end, police may issue an instant on-the-spot licence disqualification. Our government is confident that these changes are certainly the right response to make our roads safer.

We have zero tolerance for hoon drivers when they do the wrong thing. They put themselves and other road users at risk with what is reckless, dangerous, stupid and selfish behaviour. Irresponsible behaviour certainly has no place on our roads, and I urge all road users to think about their choices behind the wheel. I also encourage anyone who witnesses dangerous driving or riding to report it to South Australia Police.

We have delivered on our 2018 election promise to establish what is a very good Traffic Watch app, which provides another means for people to report hoon driving, boosting the capability of SAPOL to respond. SAPOL also undertake a range of operations and activities to stamp out dangerous behaviour. Recently, Operation Rubber was an enormous success in targeting hoon trail bike riders in Adelaide's northern suburbs.

I know the member for King has been a huge advocate for cracking down on this type of behaviour in her community, so I am pleased to share how successful Operation Rubber was. The operation ran from 13 November to 19 December last year and saw 10 people arrested, eight people reported, three vehicles impounded, 40 vehicles issued with defect notices and 27 expiation notices issued. It is very clear that police will certainly not tolerate reckless, dangerous and selfish behaviour on our roads.

As a government, we are ensuring that SAPOL has the tools and the resources it needs to keep our community safe. I will also reiterate that since coming into government we have invested more than $170 million in additional funding for SAPOL, as well as the first ever direct funding for Crime Stoppers from a South Australian government. Do not forget, the public are able to report these alleged crimes if they see them. They can call Crime Stoppers and also report those situations. There is no doubt this government is certainly doing what it can to stamp out hoon and dangerous driving and to make sure we keep South Australians safe on the road.

This bill certainly strengthens our laws so that dangerous road users are prevented from causing further harm. I believe it will also further enhance the preventative effect of our strong laws. Anybody who thinks they can do as they please on our roads needs to be aware of the very serious consequences of their actions. They will be prevented from driving on our roads and they will be brought before the courts, and I am confident that if they do the wrong thing they will face some of the toughest penalties in Australia. I commend the Attorney-General for bringing this bill forward and I commend the bill to the house.