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VIC VMAC Communiqué - December 08 meeting

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by TonyE, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Chairman’s communiqué from 11 December 2008 meeting

    The December meeting of VMAC rounded off an extensive year of work by VMAC.

    I wish to thank everybody involved for their efforts during 2008.

    The work of VMAC is changing significantly. The December agenda reflected a number of changing priorities which will emerge as the motorcycling and scooter riding landscape expands significantly in the years to come.

    The draft 4 year strategy for safer riding in Victoria, which will operate from 2009 – 2013 has now been approved by VMAC for submission to Minister Pallas after final work within VicRoads.

    The draft strategy fits within the framework of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy: arrive alive II 2008-2017 while also linking with the Victorian Transport Plan (VTP). The plan recognises PTWs as part of an integrated transport solution and recognises the potential benefits they can offer.

    VMAC and VicRoads have been actively involved in assisting the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in developing a new approach to “off road†riding in Victoria under the theme of “Ride for Tomorrowâ€.

    Roger Pitt (DSE) presented VMAC with an excellent overview of the progress on the Trail Bike project. His team has received input from many motorcycling clubs and associations, actively listened to rider feedback and attended trail bike events/rallies.

    VMAC is particularly pleased with the construction of new trail bike visitor information areas providing riders with parking and unloading areas, shelters/facilities and maps and information to help riders understand where riding is approved and under what conditions.

    The Trail Bike Project shared the VMAC stand at the recent Motorcycle Expo. It was very clear that many riders are interested in these issues and responded positively to the material on display.

    This project is progressing well and has the prospects of becoming a national showpiece for positive reinforcement of good riding practice coupled with a “community†and “coaching†approach to policing of poor rider habits.

    Assistant Police Commissioner Ken Lay has joined VMAC under approval of both the Police and Transport Ministers. I regard this as a very strong signal that motorcycling and
    scooter riding is taking a more significant place in top level thinking around future priorities for road sharing and safety.

    Inspector Jeff Millar, who is the regular Victoria Police nominee to VMAC, provided a verbal update on the project with a launch date targeted early in the New Year. Victoria Police have taken delivery of 10 new Police Motorcycles (not funded from the levy) that will be used as part of this program.

    Inspector Millar reported that the program model was outlined to approximately 350 traffic police during the recent Vision 237 conference with the assistance of John Karmouche, MRA (Vic) President and received very positive feedback from all.

    David Shelton (Director Road User Safety, VicRoads) and I visited Canberra on 27 November 2008 to press for urgent implementation of a national motorcycling/scooter safety and transport strategy (with our offer to assist in any way).

    We were positively received by senior Department of Infrastructure officers. There is clear acknowledgment of the improved safety outcomes emerging from the Victorian programs.

    While the Federal Government is committed to taking up a stronger role in this field it became evident that there is no present funding allocation for any work of this kind.

    Without such funds it will be at least two years before the Federal Department is in a position to undertake any specific (blackspots) or collaborative action (research/training) of the kind we are proposing.

    At the December VMAC meeting I referred members to the strong statements made by the Prime Minister and the Federal Transport Minister in May last year pointing to the need for national action on motorcycle casualties. To be effective these calls need to be backed up by a fully funded agenda.

    I will be writing, on behalf of VMAC to the Prime Minister and Federal Transport Minister Albanese suggesting a rethink and offering strong support from VMAC for a national action strategy consistent with the findings of the recent national Workshop held in April 2008.
    I have suggested that rider groups and industry representatives on VMAC may wish to consider a similar approach to take to Canberra.

    The new levy funded motorcycle awareness campaign for drivers has gone to air on state-wide television – with the dollars buying many prime time TV slots to maximise reach. Feedback from riders has been good. Now we need to see the results of research into effectiveness in changing driver awareness and response to sharing the road with riders.

    VMAC has also significantly progressed two new rider training initiatives – community policing (above) and the “assisted rides†trials which will begin operating in the next few months. The latter is to be a fully documented and researched trial under which 2000 riders will participate in rides with trained instructors to work on “on road†experience and hazard perception skills.

    These new programs signal a strong shift to training and skills as the next significant leg of a long term strategy to make it safer for everybody to share the roads.

    At the December meeting I signalled my personal view that the VMAC agenda and action program has become too broad and too significant to be handled properly under the current arrangements.

    Even though VMAC is only an advisory body to Government it is clear that recommendations are taken seriously and the work is highly valued. It is also clear that VMAC is now being seen as a successful vehicle through which to bring forward policy ideas and initiatives – increasing the workload and representations to members.

    Therefore I will propose to Minster Pallas that we consider some changes to the structure and operations to better account for these changes and to improve our capacity to handle the emerging pressures. If this idea is progressed VMAC will develop some alternatives over the next few months in consultation with the constituent organisations.

    Professor Marcus Wigan resigned from VMAC in April 2008 after many years of dedicated and important voluntary service.

    Roger Northam (Ulysses and Barwon Road Safety) has indicated that he will resign after the February 2009 meeting as time and family interests do not allow him to continue at his current level of active involvement (and he doesn’t have a second gear).

    We thank both members for their significant contributions and wish them well in the future.

    May I convey our best wishes for a strong recovery to Ray Newland, a foundation member of VMAC who represents the national automotive industry. Ray has been sidelined by a stroke in recent weeks but is now making great progress and we hope to see him back on deck as soon as possible.

    I would also like to congratulate Minister Martin Pakula on his recent appointment to the Victorian Ministry and Cabinet. Martin served for the past 18 months as Parliamentary Secretary for Transport with special reference to motorcycling and VMAC matters. He has been a strong source of support in our changing agenda and priority and we wish him well in his new field of responsibility.

    Neil O’Keefe
    VMAC Chairman