Thursday, 1 August 2019
Road Safety; Appointment
On behalf of the Leader of the House, I move:
(1) a Joint Select Committee on Road Safety be appointed to inquire into and report on steps that can be taken to reduce Australia’s road accident rates, trauma and deaths on our roads;
(2) the committee present an interim report on or before 30 March 2020 and its final report on or before 31 July 2020;
(3) the committee consist of nine members, four Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Government Whip or Whips, two Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips or by any minority group or independent Member, and one Senator to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, one Senator to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and one Senator to be nominated by any minority group or independent Senator;
(4) participating members may:
(a) be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Government Whip in the House of Representatives, the Opposition Whip in the House of Representatives, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator or member of the House of Representatives; and
(b) participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any question before the committee;
(5) every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
(6) the members of the committee hold office as a joint select committee until presentation of the committee’s final report or until the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time, whichever is the earlier;
(7) the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy;
(8) the committee elect:
(a) a Government member as its chair; and
(b) a non-Government member as its deputy chair who shall act as chair of the committee at any time when the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee;
(9) at any time when the chair and deputy chair are not present at a meeting of the committee, the members present shall elect another member to act as chair at that meeting;
(10) in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote;
(11) three members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include one Government member of either House and one non-Government member of either House;
(12) the committee:
(a) have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any subcommittee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine; and
(b) appoint the chair of each subcommittee who shall have a casting vote only;
(13) each subcommittee shall have at least one Government member of either House and one non-Government member of either House;
(14) at any time when the chair of a subcommittee is not present at a meeting of the subcommittee, the members of the subcommittee present shall elect another member of that subcommittee to act as chair at that meeting;
(15) two members of a subcommittee constitute the quorum of that subcommittee, provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include one Government member of either House and one non-Government member of either House;
(16) members of the committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum;
(17) the committee or any subcommittee have power to:
(a) call for witnesses to attend and for documents to be produced;
(b) conduct proceedings at any place it sees fit;
(c) sit in public or in private;
(d) report from time to time; and
(e) adjourn from time to time and to sit during any adjournment of the House of Representatives and the Senate;
(18) the committee or any subcommittee have power to consider and make use of the evidence and records of any former committee on related matters;
(19) the provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders; and
(20) a message be sent to the Senate acquainting it of this resolution and requesting that it concur and take action accordingly
The opposition supports the establishment of this committee but, to be quite frank, it would be better for the government to get on with responding to the inquiry which it commissioned two years ago. In September 2017, the government appointed a panel of road safety experts to conduct an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy, which was clearly failing to make a material difference in our road toll. The report was handed to the Deputy Prime Minister in September last year. Ten months later, the government has yet to respond to that inquiry.
In March this year the two co-chairs, eminent Australians in this field—Dr John Crozier, a leading trauma surgeon at Liverpool Hospital, and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide—publicly released a video saying that they were underwhelmed by the government's lack of response to the inquiry's findings. Here we are, with another four months having gone by, and the government's response is to set up this committee. There's still no formal response to the inquiry already completed.
This committee will hear from some of the same people who made submissions to the government's previous inquiry. Nothing has changed other than more lives being lost while the government, frankly, has done very little. We've seen today that the Australian Automobile Association has released a report that shows the road toll is now higher than it was four years ago. One thousand, two hundred and fourteen Australians have died on our roads in the 12 months to 30 June 2019 compared to the 1,170 in the 12 months to June 2015.
Of the 33 individual indicators of the National Road Safety Strategy, which has been in place since 2011, only nine are on track to being met over the strategy's 10-year time frame. It is eight years into a 10-year strategy and the government still cannot measure eight of the indicators, including one of the strategy's two headline targets: reduction of serious injuries by 30 per cent. So, yes, the opposition believes that it is critical for all of us to work together to bring down Australia's road toll and that one death or injury is one too many. But the government needs to get on with actually responding to the work already done in this space.
The committee that we're debating here today will not report until July next year. I know that transport infrastructure ministers are meeting on Friday. I would hope that a proper and formal response to the inquiry that the government undertook and action to improve the road toll are a matter of urgency for those ministers, particularly the Commonwealth ministers. Our view is, whilst we support the committee and support many backbenchers being involved in the work of the committee, we do say that the government does need to get on with the job. We simply cannot wait until the committee reports in July next year to actually start taking real action on road safety.
Question agreed to.