Final report of the Select Committee on Road Safety in Tasmania
Tuesday 15 November 2022, Consideration and noting
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I move
That the report of the Legislative Council Select Committee on Road Safety in Tasmania be considered and noted.
Mr President, road safety is one of the most important issues in our community. Just about everyone has a story about road safety with many families in communities sadly touched by a serious crash or a fatality, while on average 300 people are killed or seriously injured on Tasmanian roads each year. The committee noted that up until 14 October 2022 there had been a 10-year high on road fatalities on Tasmanian roads and sadly, these statistics have continued to climb. I believe there was another fatality today.
In 2021, Tasmania failed to meet its National Road Safety Strategy targets. In 2011, 24 people lost their lives on our roads, while there were 272 serious crashes. In 2020, 36 people died and 283 were seriously injured, while in 2021, 35 people died with 242 seriously injured.
The impact of these deaths on our roads goes far beyond those killed. It affects families, friends and entire communities. The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20 targeted a 30 per cent reduction in fatalities and serious crashes in all jurisdictions. In Tasmania, the rate of fatalities and serious crashes went up. During that time technology and infrastructure all improved, driver training and licensing were improved and police were given better, more targeted enforcement options. At the time the inquiry commenced, Tasmania had the worst road safety record of any state, with 6.6 deaths per 100 000 population, compared with the best performing state Victoria which had 3.7 deaths per 100 000. If we could have matched Victoria, we could have saved 19 lives a year.
We know the Government is doing everything it can to keep Tasmanians safe on our roads, but for some reason, that is not reflected in the figures. This inquiry was set up to take a closer look at this issue and provide sound, evidence-based and data-driven recommendations to help the Government tackle this issue. The committee received 94 submissions and undertook three hearings from a broad cross-section of the community. The submissions covered a wide scope including very sad, confronting submissions of personal experience from some people. Looking at some of the submissions and the people who sent them in, while there are a lot of individual submissions, we also received submissions - I had put everything away, when we were going to hold this off, now I have to -
Mrs Hiscutt - Yes, I do apologise.
Ms ARMITAGE - That is alright, I had to find everything again.
Apart from personal experiences and many individual submissions, we also received submissions from emergency services, from former police officers, transport areas, local government, Motorcycle Council, bicycle organisations, Kidsafe Tasmania, Performance Driving, a former legal practitioner, crossing guard, Australasian New Car Assessment Program, International Road Assessment Program, South Hobart Sustainable Community and the list goes on. As I said 94 submissions in all, over a wide range of different groups.
Going through some of the submissions, one that comes to mind was from Adrian Gill, and Adrian will not mind me mentioning his name, he is very proactive, he is a firefighter and was very keen to actually have training in schools. He felt there was not enough training in Years 11 and 12. He has actually taken it upon himself now to conduct training and paying for it as well, going into private schools. The concern was that the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA), while it went into some schools, was not compulsory and he questioned whether it actually reached enough students and whether it provided enough training for them. Adrian, a career firefighter, felt it is probably much better for someone like a firefighter to go into schools rather than police. Firefighters are seen in a different light to a police officer. We probably all agree there. Firefighters going into schools to teach, for example, driver education. Everyone loves a firie. He is still looking at ways of conducting this training, and he recently told me in an email that he has about seven or eight schools that he is looking to go into, Years 11 and 12, and provide some of this training, hopefully with other firefighters. That is absolutely commendable, for someone in the community who felt there were areas out there that were not covered.
He also presented to us, and he brought with him the PowerPoint he presented - I think it was from Queensland - on what was done in some of the schools and what he thought we could do here, to teach our students better.
Something that was raised in our committee was whether we should be providing more education for students in the curriculum. Not only for Years 11 and 12 but perhaps junior students as well, so they have an understanding of what signs mean and driver training. They are all out there with Mum and Dad in the car and it does not hurt for them to say to Mum and Dad - who probably got their license quite a long time ago - what is happening and what they should be doing. Adrian was fabulous, and he is continuing with it and doing his bit to try to make our roads safer for all of us.
We also had a retired legal practitioner, who presented some very interesting information. Everyone provided different aspects, and that was very important. All our presenters who came in to our hearings covered a variety of different areas. This gentleman felt that our roads must be crash-tolerant; roads should be treated as an industrial workplace with similar protections; and traffic barriers should be installed on all high-risk roads. He recommended the installation of rumble strips, speed humps and decreasing speed limits.
A lot more roads could have rumble strips on the edge. When you are driving along and you hit a rumble strip, it certainly reminds you. You can get yourself back to the centre of the road if you are feeling tired and for some reason you happen to veer off.
Another submission and hearing came from a crossing guard. We see crossing guards all the time - lollipop people, as we call them. They said they are sometimes quite concerned by driver behaviour around schools. Speeding and mobile phone use were common; failure to stop when directed is frequent; and disregard and abuse of the crossing guard is a feature of the job. One of the recommendations from one crossing guard was whether they could have body cameras. The member for Rosevears was very keen on the idea of a light on the end of a pole. They thought that it would stand out much better if a crossing guard could have a pole with a flashing light to show that they were there to help our children get across the road safer.
Another submission came from an engineering officer in traffic infrastructure and assets at one of our larger councils. He was unhappy with the crash data available from the Department of State Growth in recent years. It simply had not been available to them to access and to look at areas of roads, whether it be for blackspots or other problems. Local councils were no longer able to access the Road Incident Management System (RIMS), inhibiting ability to understand crash patterns at intersections. He proposed a dedicated crash investigation unit so the causes of crashes are better understood. That was a recommendation that came up, and I will get to those recommendations shortly.
Some of the submissions bear mentioning. The Tasmanian Motorcycle Council was concerned that sometimes there is a lack of consultation with the motorcycle community. Motorcyclists are continually being told by government departments that they are over‑represented in accidents compared to other road users, but those same government departments will not assist them in providing road safety programs for motorcyclists. Advertising and education need to be improved. They considered that wire rope barriers were dangerous and expensive. They also had correspondence relating to a funding dispute with RSAC about a planned commercial.
They had many areas included, but one of the other issues that was discovered was about motorcycles and motorcycle licensing, and this came into our recommendations as well. Many states have a three‑tier motorcycle registration, whereas in Tasmania, it is two‑tier. You either have a small bike or you have a large bike. In many of the states, you can have a small bike, a medium bike or a large bike. At the moment, in Tasmania, you either have a small bike and pay a registration fee, or you have a 500cc or 1000cc and you pay the same. There is no real benefit. The three‑tier system seems to be a more sensible option to, hopefully, encourage people not to go for that larger bike if they do not need to. They will save money by staying on a smaller cc bike. We also learned that the member for McIntyre has a bike license and -
Ms Rattray - No bike.
Ms ARMITAGE - No bike, but a bike license.
Mr Willie - We also learned about some of her driving habits. I will not say any more.
Ms Forrest - It is a surprise she can get back on a bike until she has had some practice.
Ms ARMITAGE - We have not included those. We removed them from the report.
Ms Rattray - Through you, Mr President, from time to time I have added it up, and I have done well over a million kilometres in my role; so I think I can speak with experience.
Ms ARMITAGE - Authoritatively.
Ms Rattray - Yes, that too.
Ms ARMITAGE - Absolutely. We also heard from the Bicycle Network Tasmania, with nearly 50 000 members. The Bicycle Network is one of the top five member‑based riding organisations in the world. They put forward many recommendations, including that the Tasmanian Government fund new camera technology that detects mobile phone use, as well as speeding and seatbelt use. We are very pleased to see that they were obviously taking note of our committee as it went along, and they now do have this technology installed; I think it is four cars and four trailers. That is very pleasing to see.
They also recommended Government support funding for a road safety campaign and improved driver testing, focusing on the need for drivers to pay attention at all times to all road users. They also recommended funding for Tasmania Police to include minimum passing distance enforcement in its operations; and we have all seen the figures of one metre.
ANCAP also provided a submission and recommended that the purchase and use of the newest vehicles, with the highest possible ANCAP rating, should be encouraged for everyone. In Tasmania, we have the oldest fleet. The majority of our fleet was 13 years old; but from memory, there was quite a proportion, it might have been 82 000, that were 18 years old. It is a difficult issue in Tasmania when you look at the technology that is in the newer vehicles and the technology in the older vehicles. The other evident problem is that a lot of younger people have older cars. They are obviously cheaper, but they do not have the safety features of the newer vehicles. ANCAP had recommended the use of newer vehicles, but it is not always possible for many people.
Ms Rattray - Through you, Mr President, you provide to your children or help them buy the safest vehicle you can, but there is often a cost involved in that. You do the best you can as a parent or a carer.
Ms ARMITAGE - Absolutely. We even had a submission from the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP). iRAP is a UK-registered global charity with the vision for a world free of high‑risk roads. They also had a summary of key recommendations for us to consider, including formally establishing an AusRAP leadership team in Tasmania with the Department of State Growth, Transport Tasmania, LGAT, Tasmania Police, MAIB, RACT, ARRB and others, to contribute to the national program chaired by Austroads. It was great to see that we had representation and submissions from all around Australia and from overseas.
Several councils took the time as well to put in submissions, which was pleasing. We discovered that sometimes the speed limits where council areas and state roads meet are not always consistent, and that was another problem that occurred for many road users.
The Police Association of Tasmania put in a submission and they strongly recommended having a fully funded and dedicated traffic section. I am pleased to say that having spoken to Jonathan Higgins recently, he tells me that they now do have a fully funded and dedicated traffic section and they have been spending a lot more time on the roads in their marked cars. It is more about safety as opposed to revenue. It is about people seeing the cars and slowing down rather than the unmarked cars - we have all seen those, the little black Subarus or different cars parked on the side of the road -
Ms Rattray - Except the one that crashed.
Ms ARMITAGE - I think it was a marked car. The ones with their little flashing lights in their grill. Now it is more about having the officers on the road in their marked cars, so that people slow down rather than necessarily getting booked. That was one of the things that we raised in the committee. It was safety over revenue.
The Police Association report also recommends more driver education and retraining and the adoption of more technology. As they said, trauma is relived multiple times in the course of duties and many members are impacted by this stress. That was something that came up also, we tend to think of police, but there are so many emergency responders who are impacted including paramedics, firies. They are all there at the scenes of accidents and we were told that they do relive the trauma many times.
Speed creep was an interesting one that we heard about. Speed creep is where vehicles gradually start to go a little faster. They might do 60 then 61 kilometres per hour, maybe 62 to 63 kilometres per hour or 110 to 111 kilometres per hour, where you get booked at 112 or 113 kilometres per hour. People where at the stage over COVID-19 where there were not a lot of police around, many police were deployed in other areas and it was interesting to see the analysis of traffic data show that compliance with posted speed limits, the number of vehicles driving at or below the speed limit on the state's roads, had fallen over the period from 2016‑2021. The data also indicates that the average vehicle speed on these roads has risen over the same period.
Importantly, national and international research has shown that speed is directly linked to road trauma. A one kilometre an hour increase in average vehicle speed across the road network is expected to result in an increase of about 4 per cent in road trauma, those killed and seriously injured.
It is said many times - but it is true - there are those silver bullets and the fatal five continue to remain significant contributors to Tasmanian road deaths and serious injuries. They are speed, non-use of seatbelts, misuse of alcohol and drugs, driver distraction and driver fatigue. Sadly, between 2012-21, 336 lives were lost on Tasmanian roads and 2678 people were seriously injured.
In 2022, our road statistics have spiralled out of control. The question remains, what do we do?
We had hoped for a short sharp inquiry, but with two prorogues and a parliamentary suspension when committee work cannot be undertaken and a final membership of three members, we were very pleased to finally table our report on 25 October 2022.
Our final committee of Tania Rattray, Josh Willie and myself made 94 findings and 49 overarching recommendations about road safety governance, road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, post-crash responses and other road safety related matters.
Some of the other findings that we came across during the inquiry. Apart from the fatal five - speed; seatbelts; alcohol; drugs; distraction and driver fatigue - the other areas and some of the recommendations that we looked at included the installation of median and road strip barriers on Tasmania's high-speed and high-volume roads. That was reported by the Government to prevent or reduce the severity of run-off and head-on crashes. The average age of the Tasmanian vehicle fleet of over 13.3 years compared to the average age of 10.6 years and that continues to increase. The slow take-up of new vehicles in Tasmania means the adoption of the latest vehicle safety features is not being attained.
Concern was also raised with regard to the Road Safety Advisory Council. It provides advice to government; however, there is no accountability for the government to deliver on their recommendations. A recommendation was that the Government consider whether the Road Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) should be more independent of government. There are quite a few members from State Growth and others sitting on the committee but there is no accountability for them to deliver on the recommendations that they have.
A recommendation was also that they improve the transparency of their decision-making, including their subcommittee decisions and that all RSAC recommendations to government should be publicly reported and tracked.
With regard to transport services, it was noted that there was a lack of coordination between the relevant road safety stakeholders who deal with road safety matters; that speed and not driving to the conditions on suboptimal road infrastructure contributed to Tasmanian rural road deaths and serious injury. We need to improve road safety outcomes. There is a need for professional people, independent of government, to carry out and make recommendations from road safety audits.
We discovered there is a lack of trained people in this area which certainly is not easy but the Government should consider resourcing the state to have these professionals trained in conducting road safety audits on behalf of the state and the local councils. They all say, consider investigating a mechanism for mandatory road safety audits to be undertaken around all road accidents involving a fatality and/or serious injury. Many states now have these road safety audits which certainly makes it easier for them to understand the reason behind the crashes and the accidents. A further recommendation was that the Government consider a mechanism for information sharing as well between the relevant third parties. For example, Tasmania Police, Transport Tasmania and the affected local councils relating to the investigation of the serious road crashes.
One of the main findings in my mind was with respect to fines collected from Tasmanian road safety enforcement measures. It was not clear whether that revenue was readily available for safe system road safety infrastructure improvements. It was felt a recommendation that the Government allocate the revenue collected from road safety enforcement to road safety improvements - no-one likes to be booked but at least if the money was actually going back into road safety, while it is still not nice, it is a better place for it to go, back into making our roads and our highways safer places.
It was felt that there need to be clearer, consistent road markings to highlight the direction of traffic, particularly for short sections of dual highways. We all know when you are driving along on two lanes and then all of a sudden it is one lane and you think - is this still two lanes, or am I now on one lane? Even an arrow on the road would show you, particularly for people from the mainland who are used to dual highways, and all of a sudden, they go from dual to single and some of those sections can be quite short. It was felt that clearer, consistent road markings to highlight the direction was a good way to go.
Also, that the Government consider the feasibility of installing post-cushioning on the wire rope barriers to minimise the crash impact of those on motorcycles. We know that they are safer for cars - or we were told in the hearings from the Government that they prevent head-on crashes from cars, with the wire rope in the centre, but we also heard from the motorcycle community they can be dangerous. My thoughts always were that it was the wires that were a cheese cutter but we were actually told they were not, it is posts that are the problem. They can actually have some cushioning on them to improve them.
I do not want to go through all these because I want to leave something for the other members to speak about.
Ms Rattray - I have been ticking them off as you have been going, member.
Ms ARMITAGE - I will not do them all, I will leave some for the other members. The road safety maintenance budget was one of considerable importance, that consideration be given to increasing it from $70 million to $100 million. The thing we were told about the wire rope barriers is that they need regular maintenance. If they do not have regular maintenance, they need to be tensioned and they need to be checked to make sure they are in good condition. That was one of the other issues, particularly with the safety of avoiding the head-on crashes. It is all very well to have this and have it put in, but they need regular maintenance. The recommendation was that it increase from the $70 million to $100 million for the regular maintenance.
We have 94 findings, quite a few. The fitting and use of after-market LED lights was another one that was brought up. Many people have mentioned you drive along and you see a car coming towards you with particularly the after-market lights that might have been installed and they can be extremely bright. Concern was raised there about the fact that people can buy them and put them on their vehicle and they can be quite blinding. My Mum hated driving at night and had difficulty seeing and that is an issue for a lot of people. If they are already having trouble driving, their eyesight probably getting a little worse as they are getting older, to all of a sudden have these extremely bright after-market lights can be very difficult for people.
The current government fleet was another one that was raised. The fact that with the newer cars, they go into the second-hand market which was worthwhile considering the age of the cars we had. As mentioned earlier, 82 vehicles, one-fifth of Tasmania's fleet are more than 18-years old which is quite frightening when you consider particularly our young people who tend to drive our older cars because they are less expensive.
Mr Willie - It is not an easy solution though, is it?
Ms ARMITAGE - It is not an easy solution at all, because they are expensive and people simply cannot afford them.
Another recommendation was to do with road worthiness checks. I do not know how many members here can remember the last time they might have been pulled over and had their tyres, their brakes or the lights checked. I certainly cannot, it would probably be 20 years ago. I do not remember the last time you saw the police on the side of the road pulling everyone over and checking their registration, tyres, brakes, lights, going around your car and then putting defect stickers on some people's cars.
The feeling was that something like that, particularly with our older fleet, is worthwhile and is something that should be happening and they should actually be looking at.
Another one was safety over revenue. It was not about booking someone. It was not about saying 'okay, you have two bald tyres, we are going to fine you $300', it was about putting a defect sticker on the car and saying you have three or four weeks to get those tyres repaired. Using that money that the fine would have been to actually get it fixed rather than all of a sudden people have to find the money they do not have to pay the fine and they still have bald tyres. It was all about getting some of these cars that might not be roadworthy - their brakes might not be working and they have to stop suddenly on the road - trying to get them safe and that they can afford to have them fixed. Money is very tight for a lot of people, but unsafe cars on the road add to the risk of accidents.
You might find this an interesting one, but one of our recommendations was to increase the speed for motorcyclists. Probationary motorcyclists at the moment have to go at 80 kilometres an hour, yet a car or a vehicle motorist can do 100 kilometres an hour. It was felt that it was not in line and the Government should consider raising the maximum speed for probationary motorcyclists to the same as a vehicle. They are driving along at 80 kilometres per hour, vehicles are going at 100 kilometres per hour. It was only reasonable they should actually be at the same speed, they are both probationary. They should be going 100 kilometres per hour. That was the recommendation made, which seems probably a little odd to increase the speed but it did not seem consistent they should be going at a lower speed.
The Government to consider re‑establishing a dedicated, centralised traffic enforcement command for Tasmania Police to increase their efforts of effectively policing road rules. I have spoken to Jonathan Higgins, Deputy Commissioner who pointed out they certainly are doing that now and having many more of his officers out on the roads, in their marked vehicles.
Senior traffic police should conduct more frequent high‑profile media and messaging on enforcement activities. That was another issue that came up, that marketing, advertisements, signage have been lacking over the last few years. COVID-19 advertising was excellent. People saw it, listened to it, understood it and realistically, we should be using that same marketing to work with road safety. We have fallen behind quite a lot with road safety marketing and the signage and it was time now to get back out there, whether it be on TV, radio, or on the side of the road, to actually indicate the signage along the lines we did with the COVID-19 signage, which worked extremely well.
The other one was the Government continues its intended rollout and use of traffic enforcement cameras throughout Tasmania. We were very pleased when we saw the Government had obviously listened to our committee hearings during the term of our committee and now has the four vehicles and the four trailers. Obviously, when you are driving along and you see one of those trailers there, I am sure we all get that guilty feeling. I saw one the other day along Sandy Bay Road and you automatically look down at your speedo and are very pleased you are not going 51 kilometres per hour and still doing 50 kilometres per hour.
They will pick up a lot of people, particularly the trailers with the pole that sees into the car and pick up people who are on their mobile phones. It is distracting to have a mobile phone in your hand. It is also worth bearing in mind you cannot have it on your lap or be touching it. You can have it in your pocket, but if it is sitting on your lap, then you will be fined. The same goes for seatbelts. A seatbelt must be properly done up. It must be across your shoulder and around the waist. I could not understand how you could not put a seatbelt on properly, but they tell me that many people do not like the shoulder strap and they simply put it around their waist. If you do that, you will be booked. It is worth recalling what you can and cannot do.
There is also the point‑to‑point cameras they will have where if you go past one camera and then it could be two kilometres or it could be 200 kilometres down the road, you go past the second, it is worth stopping for that coffee and taking your time rather than getting a fine at the other end because you have gotten there too quickly. These new cameras are obviously going to help with road safety, but it would be good if the funding from these cameras actually went back into road safety, as opposed to going back into consolidated revenue.
In Queensland, from memory, in their first or last three months last year, they made several million dollars and they put it all back into road safety. It is good to think of the money going back into making our roads safer with some of the areas that are important.
The Government continued to invest in ongoing community education of Tasmanian road rules and road safety. We thought that was an important area for the Government to continue to allocate additional funding to provide road safety education messaging through a variety of media channels and that the road attitude and awareness program may be of benefit in complementing existing youth driver awareness programs in Tasmania.
Obviously, education for young drivers and older drivers as well, but particularly for people who are learning to drive and also in the school‑based, the feeling was the Government should continue to support evidence‑based, general road safety education and explore additional initiatives to reach more school-based children. The younger they learn about signs, about driving, the better drivers they will be when they get to that age. It would be wonderful to have a world without serious road crashes.
I have mentioned the post-crash considerations and that was one of our recommendations: that the Government explore the feasibility of adopting an independent body to oversee investigation of road crashes and that the Government collaborate with road safety organisations to provide support networks for road crash victims and their families. As I mentioned, many other states do that. They have the investigation to find out the reasons behind the crashes, which gives them information going forward, particularly with roads and other areas.
There are many areas to be covered in the report, and as I said with the other two committee members, I need to leave some areas. They have worked very hard during our time on the committee. It is sincerely hoped that the report's recommendations on behalf of the community are supported in action by the Government and other responsible parties. The improvements to road safety matters combined is envisioned over time to reduce road safety trauma in Tasmania.
I was very pleased to read the response from the RACT, with regard to our report. This was dated 27 October 2022, so some of the figures with regard to accidents are not correct, but I will read it as it is:
The RACT has welcomed the final report handed down by the Legislative Council Select Committee Report on Road Safety in Tasmania, calling for urgent action in implementing its findings and addressing Tasmania's road safety woes. Tasmania is the state with the nation's worst road safety record. The Legislative Council Select Committee Report on Road Safety in Tasmania is the blueprint that can make us the best-performing state in Australia, said RACT group CEO, Mark Mugnaioni.
So far this year, 46 people have died on Tasmanian roads and 214 have been injured. That is a legacy no parliament, no government, no local government authority, all of whom have the responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their citizens want to leave. Now is the time for action. Now is the time for our parliament, not just our government, to leave a road safety legacy they can be proud of, not ashamed of.
It can do that by ensuring this report, with its 94 findings and 49 recommendations, remains the driving force for change, not just another tome consigned to a basement shelf. That requires the support, not just of every member of the Tasmanian Parliament and every elected official in local government, but every Tasmanian. It requires commitment from every government department and government business enterprise. The evidence gathered by this inquiry is clear and compelling, as it has always been for so many of the road safety initiatives the RACT and many other road safety advocates have consistently called for.
The report also reinforces what RACT members have been telling us for years through our regular surveys: we need more enforcement, better driver training, speed limits appropriate to road conditions, just to name a few. In fact, the RACT's new panels, established to deepen our advice from members, just this month reinforced again that they are their top road safety concerns. We thank Rosemary Armitage, MLC, for her tremendous work in establishing and chairing this committee, as well as Tania Rattray and Josh Willie for their roles as members.
Mr Mugnaioni said:
The State Government, supported by the parliament, can act now, by bringing the best technology to bear on enforcement, deterrence and education on our roads; directing fines revenue back into road safety; rolling out road safety education in all our schools, not just those who request it; embedding the tried-and-tested safe systems design elements in every road project; setting speed limits appropriate to road conditions and apply that consistently across state and council roads; having a road safety regime as part of workplace health and safety in every business. After a decade of neglect, Tasmania has the first stage of that automated enforcement on our roads, eight mobile cameras, but we need more.
The State Government has committed to 16 mobile automated enforcement cameras by next year. We say that 32 cameras using the full suite of technology is the minimum required. We also strongly urge the Government to use the revenue from the camera network to maintain and expand it. The Government and the parliament must commit to every recommendation from the committee, many of which are RACT recommendations.
The RACT is heartened by the strong support for mobile automated enforcement technology from the Labor Party and the Greens. We urge them to extend that support to every road safety initiative that arises from the select committee report and not let it gather dust as the previous report did 10 years ago.
We can assure every elected member of state parliament and of every Tasmanian council that the RACT will keep its 210 000 members fully informed of the support this landmark report receives from their elected representatives.
Already the voice of our members is clear from our surveys. They support automated speed enforcement. They support revenue from the network being used to maintain and expand the network. They support better driver training. They want safer roads. They want to get home safely. They want action. Now is the time to deliver it.
It is very pleasing to get a good report or a good result from our long‑awaited report.
I thank all the individuals and organisations who participated in this inquiry for their time, their effort, their patience in making submissions and providing information during the public hearings.
I sincerely thank the members of the committee at the time of the report's completion, myself as inquiry Chair, Tania Rattray, Josh Willie, as well as our former member for Huon, Bastian Seidel and the member for Rosevears, Jo Palmer, who was with us for a considerable period and provided very valuable input, especially during the public hearings. I also extend sincere thanks to the inquiry secretary, Simon Scott, and executive assistant, Allison Scott, for their outstanding work and support to the committee.
The report was a long time coming. As I said, we had many delays. We would have liked to have finished much earlier. Often with three members of the committee, other inquiries and other committee work, it was not always easy finding time that we could meet. I am very pleased to say that we have put together what we believe to be a significant report with 94 findings and with 49 recommendations.
I have left a few of these for the other members. I thought it was only fair that they can speak to the report rather than me finalising the whole lot but I am very pleased to have the report and looking forward, in due course, to the Government's response.
IN REPLY TUESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2022
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Thank you to the members who made comment on the report. In response to the member for Hobart regarding cyclists, from memory I do not recall it being an issue or being raised about the white line and people having to cross it to give cyclists the 1.5 metres. It could be useful, as one of our recommendations from our findings was that causes for accidents be looked at, as it is in other states. It probably has not come up because it is not something that is investigated. As I mentioned when the member for Elwick was speaking, the old saying that 'you can't manage what you don't measure', comes to mind. One of our recommendations was that we look at investigating a mechanism for mandatory road safety audits to be undertaken for all road accidents involving a fatality and/or a serious injury. That does happen in many states of Australia and it gives you some indication of the reasons behind them.
As mentioned by my fellow members, we did have 94 submissions and 94 findings and 49 recommendations and we covered a wide range of areas and we had a lot of people coming to our hearings. As both members stated, there was some sad reading from people who have had family members involved in accidents, and also speaking to the emergency services. Sometimes we forget that our emergency services, whether it be our police, our paramedics, our firies, they do not just turn up at an accident that is pretty clean and tidy. They see some pretty awful things and sometimes we forget that.
Mr Willie - That poor truck driver who came to the hearing; he had someone drive into him. It was terrible.
Ms ARMITAGE - That is right; and it is with them forever. As they said, they do not forget. They get back on the road and they see a car overtaking, and they think 'Is that car going to go back to its own side or is it going to crash into me?'. That was mentioned by one of the members - we do not know what people have lived through or what they have gone through when they are out there on the roads.
I would also like to reiterate and thank the previous member for Huon, Bastian Seidel, who was keen to be part of our committee. He has had a lot of issues, particularly with bike riders.
Mr Willie - A keen cyclist.
Ms ARMITAGE - A keen cyclist. He used to cycle from here down to the Huon. He was keen to be on the committee, and I thank the member for Elwick for taking his place when he left parliament. It was great that you came on board. I have to say, Josh Willie has been a great part of our committee, coming up with some very good ideas and a great contributor. I also thank the member for Rosevears, Jo Palmer, who was on our committee for some time before she became a minister. We went across many areas on our report and everyone worked well together. It became quite difficult, as the member said, when it came down to three members, trying to find a quorum, because the quorum was three so no one could miss a meeting. The member for Elwick did a great job, particularly with trying to juggle childminding on different occasions to make sure we had the quorum, as did the member for McIntyre, trying to be available to get our report finished. I thank them so much for all the work that they did to make sure that we at least finished it this year, with two prorogations and one suspension of parliament.
I also thank the secretariat, Simon Scott and Allison Scott. As mentioned by the member for Hobart, the way that Simon has put the report together in sections and segments makes it very easy and very clear to see the findings and recommendations and read them quite well.
Ms Rattray - Very interested, Mr President, in the entire concept of the inquiry that the committee were dealing with. Very impressive.
Ms ARMITAGE - Absolutely. I will not go over any more of the findings and recommendations that have been mentioned quite well by other members. It is sincerely hoped that the report's recommendations, on behalf of the community, are supported and actioned by the Government, and other responsible parties, because the improvements to road safety combined is envisioned over time to reduce road trauma in Tasmania.