Wednesday 31 August 2011
Speed and red light cameras are an important tool in reducing fatalities on city and country roads, a complete audit of the state’s road safety camera system has found.
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Peter Ryan requested the Auditor-General review Victoria’s road safety camera program as part of a suite of measures announced by the Coalition Government to provide greater integrity around speed and red-light cameras.
“This report, tabled in Parliament today, found Victoria’s speed and red-light cameras are focused on road safety, not raising revenue,” Mr Ryan said.
“Auditor-General Des Pearson has independently validated the state’s road safety camera program and quashed the common misconception these cameras are revenue raisers.”
Mr Ryan said the report underscored the fairness of Victoria Police’s approach to issuing infringements from the road safety camera program in regional and rural Victoria.
The A-G report found:
• camera locations are based on road safety outcomes and not on maximising revenue;
• infringements are issued only where there is clear evidence of speeding or red-light running;
• revenue from infringements is allocated to the Better Roads Victoria Trust Account, which funds projects to improve roads; and
• better communication is needed around the importance of road safety cameras to address misconceptions about the program.
“The Coalition Government believes cameras save lives but it is also important that motorists have confidence in the entire system, from the accuracy of the cameras to the way in which fines are issued, and this report provides a ringing endorsement of the program,” Mr Ryan said.
“I would encourage anyone who has doubts or concerns about the state’s road safety camera program to read this report.”
Mr Ryan said speed was one of the biggest killers in the state and that this was particularly relevant on country roads where road trauma had increased in recent times.
“Sadly, road accident fatalities in regional Victoria increased by 13 per cent last year and there was a 59 per cent increase in the number of fatal accidents in regional Victoria caused directly by speed,” Mr Ryan said.
“Speed cameras will continue to play a vital road safety role in regional areas, alongside other important initiatives such as Victoria Police’s Regional Road Trauma Reduction strategy launched in July.
“The Coalition Government is also expanding the use of roadside signs to promote road safety, especially on country roads.”
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was delivering on its election commitment to provide greater transparency, integrity and public accountability around speed and red-light cameras.
“Our plan includes the appointment of Australia’s first independent Road Safety Camera Commissioner to monitor and review all aspects of the state’s speed and red-light camera operations,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Auditor-General had made eight recommendations in his report about how to further strengthen Victoria’s road safety camera program.
“It is now the role of Government and Victoria’s road safety partners to work through these recommendations to improve road safety and reduce death and serious injury on metropolitan and country roads,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said road trauma cost the Victorian economy an estimated $3.8 billion a year and that the Coalition Government would continue to implement measures to improve road safety.
Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541