http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/sp...y-speed-cameras/story-fn5kmqy2-1225959681432# UPDATE 12.12pm: THE Coalition wouldn't cut speed cameras numbers despite accepting most people think they're revenue raisers. Speaking in an exclusive heraldsun.com.au debate recorded live today for the Lunchtime Q&A series, Mr Ryan said the Coalition would instead seek to create “greater transparency” on their use. While admitting many Victorians saw them as revenue raisers, and although the Coalition has previously attacked the proliferation of speed cameras, Mr Ryan said the policy was to ensure they were used responsibly. Related Coverage Multimedia: Cashing in on traffic cameras Court: Beating fines is rare, but Ken won Editorial: John Brumby risks driver rage Susie O'Brien: Cameras just make us angrier List: Location of every mobile speed camera Map: Every fixed speed camera in Victoria State election: Latest news, views and policies But asked if he would cut the numbers, he said: “I think the cameras have a useful purpose in making sure that we contribute to cutting and controlling the road toll, but we have to use them fairly". Mr Ryan said Coalition policy, if elected, would include an annual report on complaints and faults to Parliament. His comments came soon after Police Minister James Merlino shifted blame to the Department of Justice after revelations the Brumby Government blocked a bid to reveal how many faulty speed cameras have been discovered in Victoria. A whistleblower today accused the Brumby Government of intervening in the Herald Sun investigation. "They don't want anything negative about speed cameras to come out before Saturday's election," the insider said. Late yesterday the Department of Justice said it was unable to find out how many faulty cameras had been identified in the past five years. It claimed it couldn't do so because the "relevant electronic information is stored in a combination of searchable and non-searchable data". In an online law and order debate with Police Minister James Merlino and Opposition police spokesman Peter Ryan, being recorded live this morning and to be aired on heraldsun.com.au this afternoon, Mr Merlino said freedom of information requests were not decided by ministers. When asked by senior reporter John Ferguson about the fact the Herald Sun had been blocked from revealing how many faulty speed cameras had been discovered in Victoria, Mr Merlino said the release of information was a decision for departmental bureaucrats not the government. “The decisions in terms of what documents are released, the timing of when those documents are released, is not a decision that the minister makes, or the minister’s office makes," Mr Merlino said. "These are decisions within the (Justice) department, or Victoria Police, or whatever agency the FoI (Freedom of Information) request comes through to." He said ministers were only given details of Freedom of Information documents to be released five days before the act. But Opposition roads spokesman Terry Mulder has called on the Brumby Government to release information about faulty speed cameras ahead of Saturday’s election. Mr Mulder said the refusal to release information showed a culture of secrecy. "I think it’s imperative that this information is released prior to Saturday’s election," he said. "You would have thought that if they had nothing to hide that all the information would have been laid out in front of the public." Mr Mulder said the cover-up could set a dangerous precedent. "If you are going to have a justice system that penalises innocent people then the fabric of your democracy is in tatters," he said. "If they are going to do this with speed cameras, what are they going to with other forms of justice in the state?" It took the State Opposition about a year to retrieve the documents under Freedom of Information showing the logs for EastLink cameras for the four months to June last year. The logs, revealed in the Herald Sun in September, showed one camera at the Wellington Rd site had to be replaced after taking rogue images, and others contained corrupt data and had communication blackouts. Mr Mulder said the contents of some documents sought, but not released, remained a mystery. He said cameras served an important purpose, but must be used fairly. The revelation comes as a Herald Sun investigation has found Victorian motorists pay vastly more per head in traffic camera fines than drivers in any other state. The investigation discovered: VICTORIA'S 3.5 million driving licence holders paid an average of $113 a year in speeding fines in 2008-09, compared with $63 in South Australia, $60 in NSW, $30 in the Northern Territory, $25 in Western Australia and $15 a head in Queensland in the same year. VICTORIAN drivers have paid $4.9 billion in fines since 1989. MORE than $3.7 billion of that has been paid by motorists since Labor came to power 11 years ago. VICTORIA has 308 fixed and mobile speed cameras, compared with 178 in NSW, 90 in South Australia, 49 in Queensland and 36 in Western Australia. DESPITE Victoria having many more speed cameras than any other state in Australia, the latest figures reveal its fatal road toll in the 12 months to July increased, while most other states recorded declines. VICTORIA is the only state in Australia that does not put up signs to warn motorists they are approaching a fixed speed camera. MOBILE speed cameras in some Australian states also have warning signs. But Victorian motorists are not warned they are approaching a mobile speed camera. VICTORIA has by far the highest cash penalties in Australia for speeding at less than 10km/h over the limit and Victorian motorists also pay the most for exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h but less than 15km/h. MOBILE speed cameras in Victoria have to be tested only once a year for accuracy. Fixed speed cameras are tested every three months. The Herald Sun lodged a Freedom of Information application in June seeking detailed information about speed cameras and their accuracy. It got a response from the Department of Justice late yesterday and that was only to say six of the nine questions would not be answered. A Government insider contacted the Herald Sun last week and claimed the FoI request was being deliberately stalled until after the November 27 election. "The Government is very sensitive about the speed camera issue and doubts about their accuracy. They know it can influence voters and that's why you are not getting your stuff," the insider claimed. A State Government spokesman yesterday denied the Government or any minister had played a role in stalling or rejecting the Herald Sun's FoI request. He also defended the high number of speed cameras in use in Victoria. "Speed remains the biggest killer on our roads and speed cameras save lives," the spokesman said. "In 1989, 776 Victorians lost their lives on the roads. In the 20 years of speed camera operation, the road toll has more than halved. Last year our road toll was 290. "We would gladly receive no money from speeding fines, because that would mean motorists were not speeding and the biggest killer on our roads had been eliminated. "Our Government has taken the tough decision to back police and the road safety experts to do all we can to change the culture around speeding, in order to save lives." Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay said he did not think the point-to-point cameras would be turned on before Christmas. The cameras were turned off after nine of the 68,000 motorists caught by the cameras between Craigieburn and Wallan on the Hume Highway since 2007 were incorrectly fined. Mr Lay said the cameras hadn’t been turned back on because he "(couldn’t) afford to run the risk of another of my members turning up and trying to seize a car that shouldn’t have been seized’’. "I don’t trust the fact that we may not have a very, very small number of off readings," Mr Lay said. "We need to make sure that will not occur. "The last thing I need going into the most critical time of the year on our roads is for someone to be ringing up and saying, 'I've been inappropriately or incorrectly booked again'. We just can’t take that risk." The Police Association is funding a legal challenge by a female officer contesting a fine generated by a camera on EastLink. Secretary Sen-Sgt Greg Davies said it was crucial private speed camera operators and the State Government turned off cameras when they became aware they were faulty and immediately organised to get them fixed. "If there are faulty cameras out there, and we contend that at least one of them was faulty on at least two days, if there's more, then the public aren't going to have much faith in the system and could be excused for saying, 'Well, if there's a number of faulty cameras and they won't tell us where they are and they're still operating them, you know, how do you have any confidence in the system?'," Sen-Sgt Davies said. He said the union and its members' were primary concerned about how the cameras could help save lives. "What other people use them for is a matter for them and, therefore, a matter for the public to judge." Mr Lay said he remained confident only nine people were incorrectly booked. He said there were human and technology-related issues every now and then. "I think the community has got a perception out there that this technically is absolutely 100 per cent foolproof," Mr Lay said. "The fact is from time-to-time ... there will be mistakes." email@example.com 178 comments on this story - - - - - Dear Ken, if errors are possible, then why the hell does legislation say camera's are to be considered as incontrovertible evidence????:!: :!: Dear Opposition - increase their transparency by allowing camera evidence to be contested and locations to be sign posted... or get ride of the frackers. Bring truth in statistics into this debate. Speed kills?!?!? And to the idiot quoting the statistics, you deserve to have that spin shoved right up your shiny demerit point polished rear end. You fracking dumb arse! Thank god some of the comments have taken you to task.