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[VIC] Brumby stalls FOI request on $peed Camera$ / Coalition won't get rid of them.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by robsalvv, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. 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
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    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."

    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.
  2. i don't know how many times i have said it, there should be a campaign not to get rid of camera's (i personally think they are a good device) but when the people making the rules are the same as the ones collecting the money you have a huge conflict of interest. It's not a new concept, they already have rules in place to stop ministers profiting from running personal business that can collect from grants etc....how this con has been allowed to run for as long as it has still amazes me

    Who ever makes the rules/describes use/placement with camera's should be up for all upkeep costs, and yet recieve none of the money made by them. Then you will see them used in places where they really do work and are required only, but not on every street corner acting as the tax collecting machines they are atm.
  3. reading the comments of some of those twats who write their shite makes my blood boil.
    these same people breed children and contribute to society?
    Take for an example one twat who wrote that speed cameras are being vandalised by bogans and this is why the death toll goes up
    then there are the other fukwits who say dont speed dont get caught.

    ADR'd speedos allow a 10% leeway as designed under commonwealth law.
    The victorian speed cameras do NOT
    Fukkem aint voting this election yet again.
  4. Interesting, as where there is conflict or discrepancy as such between state and federal laws - federal laws overrule
  5. Well said Stewy. One of the early posters in the comments section says pretty much the same as you. Compartmentalising the money is a great idea.
  6. Election time? :angel:
  7. Actually, ADR with speedos haven't allowed them to under-read for a while now. I know I was stating the 10% deviance thing but it was pointed out to me that only the 10% over-reading is in ADR now, under-reading of any speedo isn't permitted.

    Happy to be proved wrong (a second time for the same subject heh) though. Or does the "Commonwealth Law" mean all the difference?

    With the under-reading thing, a quick google provides. From http://www.trafficlaw.com.au/speedos.html (and this guy knows his stuff, just ask tramp :) )
  8. "He (Brumby) told us the questions we submitted under FoI five months ago were being held back until after the election on Saturday."

    This is a f#$%ing outrage. Deliberate and public flouting of the law for political gain. Whatever you're political persuasion (and I am certainly not a conservative) and regardless of the opposition's position, these criminal c#$ts need to be thrown out on their arses right now.

    Hanging on to power at the expense of every shred of honesty, decency and ethics. I don't care what the alternative parties plan to do. There has to be a penalty for this kind of behaviour no matter what. If it means going through some other kind of shit for 4 years, then so be it.

    +100 Stewy. Cut the umbilical cord.
  9. As one of the posters there said - it's the department holding things back, not the Minister. The chances are high that he wouldn't have even seen the FoI request. I've sat through enough boring sessions on FoI to know how it works by now.
  10. So what are the boorowkrats hiding? And why?
  11. Aside from all the political heave ho, these numbers staggering!!!

    Does anyone have numbers on population of states & (this may be a long shot) km of road per state?

    Speed cameras per km would be an interesting figure (Given vic is pretty small but has a f*ckload of cameras...)
  12. Well my experience is that departments tend to do exactly what Ministers expect them to do. They tend to be very clear about such matters.

    This government hates FoI, and with good reason.

    I can see exactly what the HUN is up to, don't get me wrong. But the response tells me all I need to know.
  13. Yep. ADRs. Speedo must read between +10% and -0%. That has been law for ages.

    There are plenty of real reasons for expanding tolerances, and getting rid of cameras, without using inaccurate or mis-information.
  14. Not that long, only changed in July '06.
  15. Probably saving face and wanting to hide that someone, somewhere has screwed up...

    Never assume a conspiracy when it can be explained by stupidity or incompetence.
  16. One of the most sensible things I've ever read on a forum.

    That being said, I didn't realise there was such a disparity in relation to the number of operating cameras per state - that's quite startling.

  17. Est. resident pop @ 30 Jun 09 (ABS) & Roads Open for Traffic 30 Jun 04 (ABS)

    - NSW: 7 134 421 ... 182 167 km
    - VIC: 5 443 228 ... 152 700 km*
    - QLD: 4 425 103 ... 181 305 km
    - WA: 2 245 057 ... 148 456 km
    - SA: 1 623 590 ... 96 574 km
    - TAS: 503 292 ... 24 644 km
    - ACT: 352 189 ... 2 698 km
    - NT: 225 938 ... 22 097 km

    * VicRoads has a current est of 151 000 kms open for general traffic on its website – gives impression less kms now than 6 yrs ago, more cameras.

    Just from some stuff I have on file, hope it helps MV.
  18. beyond these facts that are just infuriating, i don't get how in a 'democracy', the thoughts and feelings of the vast majority, count for nothing. ultimately it doesn't matter how much we whinge, whine, write letters, complain on talkback radio, petition or protest, it appears that not a single course of action will ever make any impact on what the government chooses to do for it's own self-gratifying reasons.
  19. actually, you know what? i'd be willing to donate towards a full-page ad in the Herald-Sun and another in The Age to put forward some of these stats and a call to action to the public. is this something the MRAA would consider?
  20. ...and they'd be some of the best 20 thousand kilometres of motorcycling nirvana too! Thanks for the info Nightowl!