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 We all know, of course, that that is not the case. Goods and people need to be moved from place to place and people use vehicles for recreation. Certainly, we are all extremely worried about road deaths and, more particularly, road accidents. It is not only sad for the families concerned, it is not only hurtful to the people involved, it is not only difficult for the people who have to attend the accident scenes - the ambulance people, the Red Cross, the hospital staff and so on - but it is extremely expensive. It is expensive to all of us and it is expensive to Australia as a whole. Quite frankly, the Prime Minister's announcement in his press release this morning, that the $100m he is offering to the states will solve the prob 1 em overn i ght, is pueril e. He cannot say that, because he is prepared to throw $100m at the project of saving lives, anything worth while will be achi eved automat i ca lly. It needs a much better approach than that. Whi lSt his 10-point package, on the surface, may appear to be the way to go, let us examine the offer carefully and determine what debate has taken place to give rise to it. In essence, the Prime Minister is using the simplistic argument: if we do it together and adopt un iform po 1 i c i es, we will so 1 ve the problem. The problem again is that we are not all the same. The states do not all have :the same sorts of problems in relation to accidents. They do not have the same statistical evidence about the way in which accidents occur. They do not have the same road conditions and distances between various centres vary greatly from state to state. It was interesting for me to 1 i sten to thi s same debate in Western Australia when I was there over the Christmas break. I was very pleased to hear the Territory minister state publicly that he supported the view of the Road Safety Council when it recommended to the government that there be no upper speed limit on Territory roads. It was interesting to hear his counterpart in Western Australia, a Labor minister, state how sorry he was that a very large proportion of his state had an upper 1 imit. He was referring, of course, to the north:-west of Western Australia. I believe that he ought to introduce legislation to provide that there be no speed 1 imiti n the northern part of Western Australia - from, say, the Gascoyne Ri ver to the Northern Terri tory - and to ma i ntai n ali mit in the more populous south-western area of the state where the roads are narrower and not designed for high speed traffic. Probably the same thing could apply in the outback areas of Queensland and New South Wales. . I drove home to the Territory from Western Austral i a. I drove through the south~western part of Western Austra 1 i a, across to Esperance and up through the mi n i ng areas to Menz i es in the north. I then drove down to Norseman and ac.ross the Nullarbor Plain to the Stuart Highway. Of course, whilst I was travelling in Western Australia, I was supposedly limited to a 110 km/h speed limit. Nevertheless, while I was travelling at that speed, I was being passed by everything, including police tars. They do not really take much notice of the limit in the outback except perhaps when they need to build up enforcement figures. The same applied in the outback of South Australia. I was passed regularly by vehicles which were travelling at speeds that were far in excess of the speed 1 imit. There was no reason for that speed 1 imit to be enforced on those large, open roads. The roads are designed to take the higher speeds and modern vehicles today are designed to travel at those higher speeds. Quite honestly, can we expect a person who is driving a modern 1989-90 motor vehicle, be it a 4- or 6-cylinder model, to travel from 8800