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Journeys : Jun Jul 2011
From the CEO The R ACT is currently conducting an online poll of members’ attitudes towards the proposed carbon tax and what it may mean for motorists. For instance, if the carbon ta x is applied at the fuel pump, should there be a corresponding drop in the federal excise on petrol? Australians currently pay 38 cents in excise for every litre of fuel they purchase, yet only about 12 percent of this is reinvested in improvements to transport. In my view, if the carbon tax does become a reality, then the Gover nment should absorb the cost from the sur plus it makes from the current excise. Motorists are very heavily taxed as it is. There are some soothing noises coming from the Federal Government in this direction. As I write, Canberra is still considering whether petrol will be included in the tax, and if so, whether the Government will take the tax out of its current excise surplus. The Greens of course have a more robust view on how the carbon tax should apply. Please go to w w w.ract.com.au to have your say on this issue. —— —— The debate about rural speed limits appears to be resulting in a welcome rethink by the Government (see stor y this edition). There now appears to be a view similar to the RACT’s position that any speed limit reduction should be based on a case- by-case assessment. With this in mind, the New Zealand Automobile Association has brought some interesting information to my attention. The NZ Ministry of Transport has released a study of police records showing that some 35 percent of crashes in New Zealand were caused by a driver with a high-r isk record for speeding, alcohol and/or driving unlicensed. High-risk behaviour was also very noticeable in the Tasmanian rural road crash data we studied earlier this year. Many people involved in serious crashes had been doing multiple things wrong. For example, they may have been unlicensed, speeding and on drugs. I recall a police presentation a couple of years ago where we were told that many of the problems on our roads could be pinned on a few anti-social elements. So we believe a targeted approach to road safety is preferable to sweeping initiatives such as blanket speed reductions on all rural roads. We need targeted education aimed at high r isk groups, and more enforcement initiatives to keep repeat offenders off the roads. Harvey Lennon Chief Executive Officer Towards a more consistent speed limit in Hobart No signs? Drive at 50, except ... The default urban speed limit of 50 km/h was introduced in Tasmania on 1 May 2002. That is, unless signed otherwise, a maximum speed limit of 50 km/h applies on roads in built-up areas across the state. Within the boundar ies of the Hobart municipality, however, many streets have remained signed at 60 km/h. These include many busy city streets, used by large numbers of vehicles and pedestrians alike. For example, sections of Argyle, Mur ray, Har rington, Bar rack and Molle Streets are all signed at 60 km/h. Recently, Hobart City Council aldermen voted to request the regulator, the Depar tment of Infrastr ucture, Energy and Resources, to reduce the speed limit on the majority of these Hobart 60 km/h roads, to 50 km/h. DIER has agreed to a staged implementation of the request. After careful consideration of the Hobart City Council’s proposal, together with analysis of the crash statistics and in consultation with Tasmania Police, the RACT Board’s Roads and Traffic Committee has endorsed the plan, with the view that it will increase safety and deliver more consistency in speed limits around Hobart. A balance between safety and mobility is needed Journeys readers may recall that we canvassed RACT members’ views on this proposal last year. Those views were mixed, with a number of respondents suggesting that a more consistent speed limit across the city and its surrounds could be more desirable: • “ Why are there 60 km/h signs in Harrington and Murray Streets between the city and at least Warwick Street? There's no way that 60 km/h is a safe speed at any of these places.” In our community 6 June / July 2011
Apr May 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011