September 23, 2019

O’Farrell orders NSW speed camera audit

Just another form of taxation that has little to do with road safety?

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has ordered the Auditor-General to audit the States traffic speed cameras.

There are 172 fixed cameras, six mobile cameras and 60 safety cameras to be reviewed. The auditor will look at before and after analysis of crashes at fixed camera locations and how speed cameras could be refined to improve road safety.

Mr O’Farrell said he feared the cameras became a cash cow under the previous Labor administration and at the very least the audit would ”remove scepticism and cynicism”.

Mr O’Farrell said he did not envisage any extra cameras being installed even if the audit found the cameras were effective and lowered the road toll.

”Fixed cameras can be useful, there is no doubt about that; red-light cameras can be useful,” he said. ”What we want to make sure is that there is an audit to ensure motorists know whether or not cameras at certain locations are delivering that better road safety outcome, or whether it is just in fact about revenue raising.”

Mr O’Farrell said his government preferred visible marked highway patrol cars to catch speeding drivers. He promised an extra 100 highway patrol officers and additional police vehicles.

The announcement of the audit follows a directive from the Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, to the Roads and Traffic Authority to reinstate and increase the tolerance given to motorists caught speeding.

It is certainly a way of gaining favour with voters by taking aim at what many see as blatant revenue gathering.

It became an issue just days before last month’s election when it was revelaed that previously undisclosed leeway of 3km/h had been axed.

Newswarped agrees that in many instances, speed cameras are just there to nab out of towners and raise cash for the state coffers.

However the O’Farrell move smells a little of populism politics at a soft target. It also looks like they have made up their mind already what the outcome is even before the audit has taken place. Anybody would think they were a tory government or something.