No deal, Campbell tells Stoner on demerits


<font color=red><b>FATIGUE DEBATE:</b></font> NSW adjourns demerit points reform, says there are no plans to alter policy

No deal, Campbell tells Stoner on demerits
Demerit points debate adjourned
By Brad Gardner | September 29, 2009

The Rees Government has again refused to alter New South Wales' controversial demerit points policy after the Opposition introduced a Bill to overhaul the system.

Although the Government last week chose to adjourn debate on the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment (Demerit Points) Bill until parliament resumes on October 20, Minister for Transport David Campbell has quashed any speculation the proposed changes will be accepted.

He says the current approach of issuing demerit points for any driver found guilty of a road safety offence has been successful.

"Demerit points have proven to be a strong incentive to drive in accordance with the road rules," he tells ATN.

"There are no plans to change the demerit points policy."

Nationals leader and opposition spokesman on roads Andrew Stoner (pictured) introduced the Bill to amend the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act to give magistrates the power to rule on demerit points for speeding and traffic light offences.

The Act currently allows courts to waive financial penalties in extenuating circumstances but prohibits magistrates from ruling on demerit points. It means if someone is not fined then they will still lose points.

Stoner labels the process an "anomaly" and says demerit points should be dealt with in the same way fines are decided.

"If the fine is waived it is logical that the demerit points should also be waived," he says.

The Opposition decided against including in the Bill work diary offences under fatigue management regulations because the issue is being dealt with by a disallowance motion in the Legislative Council.

The trucking industry has criticised the demerit points system, which is linked to work diary breaches.

Drivers have lost points for offences even though courts have waived fines, causing confusion in the industry and jeopardising drivers’ livelihoods.

Former Minister for Roads Michael Daley previously refused to give magistrates the power to rule on demerit points.


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