Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 10 October 2006 3087 Response The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has assessed the area where buses pick up and drop off school children on the Arnhem Highway, particularly near the Marrakai Road area. I am advised that the pick-up and drop-off area near Marrakai Road is consistent with many rural school bus stops. Parents and guardians of children who wait at the roadside for the school bus generally take appropriate safeguards for their children when waiting in these areas. The option to relocate the bus stop to Burnside Road is not practical at present. Ideally, a diversion off the Arnhem Highway along Marrakai, Burnside and Wyatt Roads could be undertaken. Unfortunately, Marrakai and Burnside Roads are currently unconnected. Three-point turns by large buses are highly undesirable for safety reasons. Hence, the bus pick-up and drop-off points need to remain on the Arnhem Highway for the time being. MINISTERIAL REPORTS Road Safety in the Territory Ms LAWRIE (Infrastructure and Transport): Madam Speaker, the road safety debate in the Northern Territory has gained an increasing momentum in recent weeks. The government welcomes this debate because our current road toll deserves the attention of every Territorian. The carnage on our roads is unacceptably horrific. On Territory roads you are three times more likely to be killed than elsewhere in Australia. The road toll is just a snapshot of our road trauma. For every death on our roads, another nine people are seriously injured, often with devastating consequences for the rest of their lives. Last year, our road toll rose to above 50; the government is determined to do something about it. The Road Safety Task Force was established to examine the Territorys road safety record and report with recommendations regarding a package of measures to reduce the incidence of road crashes. Given all the tragedies on our roads, the task force looked at all options. The task force has completed its review and has presented a comprehensive report for governments consideration. This report is currently before Cabinet and will be released to the public in the coming weeks. I encourage every Territorian to read this report as it outlines the many factors that contribute to our road trauma. These include high levels of drink-driving, a lack of seat belt wearing, running red lights and speeding, among other things. Much of the information in the report is not new or exclusive to the report. The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has detailed information and statistics on its website that outline the nature and causes of the car crashes, the fatalities, and the serious injuries. Young people are especially at risk of being killed or maimed on our roads. I know that no parent can ever properly relax when their children are out on the roads at night. We also have extremely high rates of drink driving in the Territory. Every time the police undertake a drink-driving blitz, the number of people caught is absolutely staggering. It has to stop. People who would normally never break the law do get into cars when they have had too much to drink. It makes no sense. People are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk of losing their life or serious injury. While indigenous people are over-represented in the number of fatalities, they are underrepresented in the number of serious injuries. The tragic reality is that people in remote areas are more likely to be killed in a car crash owing to their distance from emergency assistance. Too often on our nightly news, we see footage of horrific car crashes from down south. Late last month, a crash in Victoria claimed seven lives and was widely reported in the Territory. What is not reported so frequently is that the road toll in other jurisdictions is reducing. In Victoria, for example, they have seen their road toll reduce from more than 1000 a year closer to 300 a year. In South Australia, which is similar to the Territory, they are tracking for their lowest road toll ever. Regional areas of Queensland and Western Australia, which include the vast distances we have in the Territory, are also seeing a reduction in the road toll. Given our road toll is three times higher than other states, we have an obligation to look at what is being done elsewhere. We are looking at what other states are doing and we are considering the advice of experts, but we will do what is right for the Territory. We recognise that the Territory is a very different place. Only 23% of our road network is sealed. Our major highways are very different from the highways down south. Over $100m is spent on our roads each year and the government will continue with its program to improve our roads. Our major highways, like the Stuart, Victoria and Barkly, are AusLink roads, and the Commonwealth

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