Ambitious but rubbish!
- Jul 12, 2004
- Sydney, Australia
- 1998 Subaru Legacy 2.5L
For drivers on Northern Territory roads, the days of hitting the accelerator and forgetting the speedometer are over.
Clare Martin's Labor government announced it would introduce a 110kph speed limit on all open roads, following the release of damning statistics by an expert taskforce.
The NT is the only place in Australia, and one of the few places left in the world, which has no speed limits and no demerit points, introduced in most Australian states in 1969.
But now the territory will toe the line.
Along with speed limits, the government will introduce a demerit system, heftier fines, a gradual roll-out of red light cameras and a greater police presence.
"We've taken the tough decisions needed to reduce the number of people killed," Ms Martin told reporters in Darwin, citing figures released to the public two weeks ago.
A road safety taskforce found three times as many people were killed on NT roads than elsewhere in Australia, per capita, with one person dying and nine seriously injured every week.
It also found 48 per cent of fatal crashes in NT were alcohol-related, and a study of eleven Darwin intersections during one month last year showed that 2,613 cars ran red lights in a single day.
While the government said it had adopted all 21 of the report's recommendations, there is one concession.
Four main highways - the Stuart, Arnhem, Barkly and Victoria - will have limits of 130kph.
"I believe this is sensible and workable," Ms Martin said.
"We do have long roads to travel in the territory and we must do it safely ... (but) open ended speed limits for the territory will end."
The CLP tried to introduce a 130kph speed limit and demerit points a decade ago but were forced to drop the plan because of widespread public opposition.
It was now time to "create a safer territory", Ms Martin said, as she avoided questions about a potential political fall-out.
"I can't accept a situation where one territorian dies every week on our road," she said.
"What we want in the territory is a safe culture on the road and we don't have that ... and I won't make any apologies."
Punters aren't happy.
Talkback radio was flooded with calls from irate drivers, who see unlimited speed restrictions as the hallmark of a relaxed life in the Top End.
"Bureaucrats imported from draconian southern states are trying to destroy the Northern Territory's unique lifestyle and heritage," protest group No Speed Limits says on its website.
Opposition leader Jodeen Carney said she would scrap the changes if elected.
"Broad measures like introducing a speed limit and demerit points for traffic offences fails to deal with the root causes of road fatalities in the Territory," she said.
Speed limits will be introduced in January. The demerit system will be introduced mid-way through 2007.
So by the time I get my full licence, I won't be able to make a roadtrip to NT and 'open the taps' like Aussie's have always been able to up there
130km/h limit isn't bad but still....
I say those angry motorists should vote for Opposition leader, Jodeen Carney, as she will scrap the new changes!