Thursday 15 June, 2023

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (12:54): I also rise to support the bill. My thoughts and prayers do go out to the Naismith family. Can I also say that we will do everything possible to make sure that we can continue to pass laws like these here to make sure that these types of incidents are never able to happen again.

In government, we certainly worked hard in the past. We continue to work with the government if they present a good idea on things like laws to stop excessive speed, extreme speed, strengthening impounding laws and strengthening laws around drug driving as well, to make sure that we punish people who do horrible things on our roads.

As we speak, even this year we see that SA has had the worst road toll in over two decades. At the rate we are going, we are set to surpass last year's total road toll around the middle of the year. We all have a duty to do more because we know that road safety is everybody's responsibility— government, opposition, every single person on the road. This bill specifically addresses and aims to rectify a number of the shortfalls in some of these measures, but we do need to punish those who do the wrong thing.

We have seen a deeply tragic incident from 2019 that we have spoken about today. This bill aims to strengthen the punitive thresholds available for dangerous driving by amending the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and also amending the Motor Vehicles Act to enable the eventual introduction of new laws that seek to tighten licensing around high-powered vehicles. Subsequent to this bill's second reading, I believe that there have also been some amendments, with some input from bodies like the Law Society. I thank the government for taking those on as well. I will talk about a couple of the bill's clauses, particularly clause 13, which amends section 45 of the Road Traffic Act to remove the aggregating factor of 'careless driving causing serious harm or death' and insert a new aggregating factor of 'careless driving causing harm', resulting in an alternative measure of mandatory licence disqualification.

An amendment has also been made to address concerns raised that the new offence prohibiting the driving of an ultra high-powered vehicle where automated systems have been disabled may inappropriately capture situations where these systems have been disabled through mechanical fault or system error, as opposed to deliberately. Obviously, we are going after people who deliberately do the wrong thing.

Road safety is paramount in bills like this. We know that driving is a privilege, but safety is a right. We have a duty to protect not only those in these vehicles but also those on the other side of the road: passengers, cyclists, people who use our footpaths and our roads. Our laws need to uphold and enforce this safety on our roads. Updating and also modifying these laws where appropriate is extremely important; it is something we certainly take very, very seriously.

It is my view, and also the view of the opposition, that what we have seen here certainly justifies a very substantial and clear need for reforming our laws. That is why we are here supporting the government and will continue to do so in a bipartisan manner for any sensible reform in this area. With those few words, I commend the bill to the house.