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Journeys : Jun Jul 2012
From the CEO I ’ve recently been spending time on a number of visits to the beautiful Nor th West Coast and the West Coast. As we do regularly, the Board of the R ACT met in Burnie recently and our North Western Advisory Committee met at Strahan. I want to thank the wonderful people of the West Coast for the tremendous hospitality they showed us in Strahan. My congratulations also go to Kelsea Clingeleffer of Wy nyard, who was recently awarded an R ACT bursary to study psychology at the Launceston campus of UTAS. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling to the North West campus just before Easter to present Kelsea with her scholarship, which is worth $20,000 over five years. It’s part of our contribution to the North West community, in this case, the University’s West North West bursar y program. The R ACT is pleased to be involved because we understand that residents of the North West are more geographically isolated than other Tasmanians, and this can present challenges, especially for young people undertaking tertiary studies. I should also mention that the R ACT’s Community Fund is supporting two other initiatives in the North West – we’ve provided funds to the Lions Club of Queenstown to upgrade a section of pathway to prov ide disability access at Spion Kop Lookout, and in Burnie we’re supporting a program that delivers donated food produce to charity organisations and shelters along the Coast. We have around 36,700 members in the North West. More North West members have our premium Ultimate form of membership than elsewhere in Tasmania. I think this tells us that people in the region have travel requirements that are more extensive than other Tasmanians and they value our premium membership as they drive around Tasmania. To serve our members we have an extensive physical presence in the area. There are full ser vice branches at Devonport and Burnie with an additional R ACT Travelworld office in Ulverstone. Supplementing this is our network of agents and approved repairers throughout the region, as well as our hard- working North West Adv isory Committee. With the waning fortunes of the forestry sector in Tasmania, I believe that in the years ahead agriculture w ill play an increasingly central role in a growing Tasmanian economy, and there is hardly a better agricultural region in the world than Tasmania’s North West. While on the Coast I made sure I familiarised myself again with the Wynyard bypass on the Bass Highway. A number of local roads feed onto this high speed bypass and the last few years have seen some serious crashes. DIER engineers recommended two or three years ago that access to the bypass from some local roads be restricted, but is still awaiting recommendations in response from the Waratah- Wynyard Council. I know it goes against the grain for many of us to consider closing roads, but a poor safety record on this section of the highway requires a sound and prompt response. I’d urge the Council to get a move on. Consult the local community and get back to DIER with recommendations for actions to make the bypass safer. This is a matter that our own Regional Advisory Committee has considered closely and I know that committee members are anxious to see action before there is another serious casualty crash in the area. Harvey Lennon Chief Executive Officer Your view on driving tests – are they getting too hard? T he R ACT has been receiv ing increased levels of comment about novice driver training in Tasmania, particularly in regards to the testing regime. Supervising drivers have complained about the impact on their household budgets and free time because of sometimes repeated efforts to gain a provisional licence. In some instances they have failed for what they regarded as trivial matters. We believe it is of paramount importance to ensure that the system tur ns out safe drivers. Competent and safe driving, and a thorough knowledge of the road r ules, should be the main criteria involved in gaining a licence. On the opposite page you can read the salutar y lesson of one learner’s driving test, which was over before it started. The learner didn’t know which button in the cabin turned on the rear demister! While this may be a lesson to supervising drivers – teach your children what all the buttons do in the cabin – there also appears to be a growing sense in the community that the system is becoming too onerous and even pedantic. As far back as 2007, this magazine ran another story asking how important was reverse parking as an element of licence testing. An irate mother had contacted us to complain that her son had performed flawlessly in two driving tests, only to be failed at the end because he messed up his reverse park. Nerves got the better of him during his driving tests. As the mother complained – how crucial to road safety is reverse parking? The matter of novice driver testing also came under discussion at a recent meeting of the R ACT’s community based Southern Regional Advisor y Committee. Perhaps, the committee discussed, at a time when cost of living pressures are seriously weighing on households, supervising drivers are becoming more questioning of the testing system. What do you think? Share your experiences through the R ACT blog. You can find it on the home page at w ww.ract.com.au. Your comments give us an opportunity to test the significance of this issue in preparation for our discussions w ith the Government. Can you, for instance, relate incidents where students had to sit for multiple tests based on what you believe were sometimes unfair assessments or undue strictness? Do you know of instances where differing standards were applied, perhaps in the case of two of your children? What strain does repeated testing cause to the pupil and their family? Do you know of cases where a pupil has given up and simply driven w ithout a licence? Or did you find the system worked well? We want to hear your criticisms but we want to hear positive experiences, too. In our community 6 June / July 2012
Apr May 2012
Aug Sep 2012