Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 12 August 1998
Parliamentary Record 8
Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS - Wednesday 12 August 1998 opposite to grasp this moment and to take a step forward for Territorians. I urge them to stop looking behind them and crying in their beer and to become part of the process rather than an obstacle to it. I urge them to develop the same vision for the Territory that the business community has, that industry in the Northern Territory has and the mining and industrial sectors. All of those people are working to create jobs for Territorians, and to advance towards statehood now on a fixed date, in accordance with the commitment made by the Prime Minister. However, I fear all they are capable of is behaving as party spoilers. Territory Road Toll M r ELFERINK to MINISTER for POLICE, FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES I understand from media reports that the Territory road toll is higher this year than for the same period last year. As an ex-police officer, I became sick and tired of peeling the dead and the maimed out of motor cars. What steps are being taken to address this very serious issue. ANSWER Madam Speaker, the situation is awful. The road toll at the moment stands at 45 compared to 32 at the same time last year. The previous highest toll for the same period was 42 fatalities in 1996. The highest toll ever was 84, in 1987. The Northern Territory road safety environment is certainly different to that in many other parts of Australia. We have a small population, dispersed over a large area, covering Aboriginal communities and mining settlements. There are long stretches of road which provide the potential for people to drive for too long without taking rest breaks that might save their lives. In these conditions, people sometimes fail to taken into account other safety precautions. Of course, at this time of the year, high numbers of tourists visit the Northern Territory and add to the traffic on the roads thereby contributing to circumstances in which it is necessary to exercise more care. Accidents contribute to the work of police, fire and rescue staff as well as ambulance staff. At times, it is necessary to cut people free of wrecks. Ambulance staff try to save peoples lives and police officers are required to visit homes to advise people that a close friend or relative has been seriously injured or has died in a motor vehicle accident. All of that should be recognised by all Territorians who do not drive according to the law. Sadly, many of the accidents caused by driving at high speeds, occur in urban areas. It is a matter of great concern that it is only over the last couple of weeks, with the introduction of speed cameras ... Mr Bailey: Delayed almost 12 months from the initial commitment. Mr REED: The member for Wanguri cannot help himself, Madam Speaker. He is compulsively rude. Police have been required to experience some awful situations. Some 31 people have been caught driving at excessive speeds during the moming and 23 in the afternoon in speed restricted areas near Darwin schools. Some were driving at high speeds. One was driving at 74 km/h in a 40km/h zone past a school. We are all aware that often children do not consider what they are doing and may dart onto a road. If a vehicle is travelling at that sort of speed past a school, it is all too easy for an accident to occur. I call on drivers to exercise more care, particularly in built-up areas. Other initiatives undertaken by the government are the introduction of 4 remote-area patrol vehicles to provide an increase police presence in rural and remote areas. Outback and rural safety enforcement campaigns were conducted between 20 June and 19 July. The campaign was designed to provide a high police profile in rural areas, with an emphasis on tourist vehicles. During this campaign, 3019 drivers were breath tested at 209 breath testing stations, and 75 drivers were prosecuted for exceeding 0.05%. Five hundred and ninety two traffic infringement notices were issued for speeding. A further 107 notices were issued for failure to wear a seatbelt, and 16 040 vehicles were inspected with 567 cautions being given. I hope that the introduction of speed cameras or red light cameras within the next month will bring home to Territorians that they have to drive more responsibly, and that they should take into account that there are other road users. Also, if they cannot consider any of those things, and if they cannot consider their own personal safety, they should take into account that Fire and Emergency Services staff, police, and ambulance services staff are required often to cut accident victims from the wreckage of their vehicles. It is not a very nice task, nor is it very pleasant for the relatives of these people to attend their funerals or visit them in hospital. As Minister for Police, I call on Territory drivers to take the high death toll into account, particularly when driving in the built-up areas. To emphasise this message, I will be going out to Police Headquarters at lunch time to make similar statements. We hope to get the message out in a 281
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