Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 27 February 1990 colleagues go in to bat for the Northern Territory? No, they sit there and keep mum. They simply say: IYes, sir. No, sir'. The attempt by the Prime Minister to blackmail the states into accepting the 10-poi nt plan is abso 1 ute ly shocking. Hi s offer of $110m over 3 years is nothing short of a joke. The Territory's measly share of $5m amounts to about $1.7m per annum. We all know that, to reconstruct the Stuart Highway, it cost us about $250 000 per kilometre. That would represent about 6.5 km per annum. We have thousands of kilometres between the Stuart, the Barkly and the Victoria Highways. It would be the end of the next century at this rate before we upgraded those hi ghways. That is not to mention a 11 of the secondary highways that are in sad need of upgrading in the Northern Terri tory. It is an absolute di sgrace. We had the famous - infamous woul d be a better word - 10-point package offered by the Prime Minister. I understand that the ultimatum was that the states and the Territory have to accept the entire package or lose the money. We would appreciate $5m. Doubtless, we would love to get our hands on it. However, what a price we would have to pay for it! The honourable mini ster pOinted out, and rightly so, that the nonsense of reducing the blood-alcohol level to 0.05% would not attack the problem at all. The statistics indicate that the people who have a level between 0.05% and 0.08% are not the ones who are creating the problem on the road. They are not the ones who are becoming involved in traffic accidents. The majority of people i nvo 1 ved in horrendous acci dents have 1 eve 1 s way above that. That is the area that we need to attack, rather than victimising the people at the lower limit, the people who might want to have 3 drinks. They might have a level just over 0.05% and be picked up on the way home. They are not the culprits. The culprits are people with much higher levels. The honourable minister gave us some details in that regard. In relation to national uniform speed limits, the minister rightly pOinted out at the conference that there is an enormous difference between the urban roads or even the regi ona 1 roads in New South Wales - and the Pacific Highway is a horrendous road on which to drive - and Northern Territory roads. If you drive down the Stuart Highway, once you are past Katherine, you would be lucky to see a vehicle on the road every 5 minutes. Further south, it mi ght be even 10 or 15 mi nutes. We do not have the bumper to bumper situation that exists in the southern states. We are talking about 2 entirely different situations. To introduce a uniform speed limit for these various situations is absolutely ridiculous. I support the minister's arguments and the position that he took at that conference. This uniform package does not suit the Northern Territory. In many respects, it is absolute nonsense and it is high time that the federal minister and indeed the Prime Minister recognised that. Mr FIRMIN (Ludmilla): Mr Speaker, this is a very interesting debate. Road traffic matters are a bit like motherhood and apple pie. Everybody has an opportunity to put his or her private solutions to an ever-increasing problem as the population and the transport movement in Australia grow. Debaters on the subject nearly always fall into the trap of saying that, if you lower the speeds and reduce the alcohol consumption, you will lower the road trauma rates. Whilst that comment is true to some extent, it does not necessarily follow that what you are setting out to achieve will be achieved. It is a very simplistic view that provides comfort to most people, but it really does not have much to do with the actual facts. The ultimate position of such an argument is that, if there were no vehicles on the road at all, there would be no road trauma at all. 8799