State Premier Barry O’Farrell plans to rip out speed cameras which are not impacting on road safety.
State Premier Barry O’Farrell plans to rip out speed cameras which are not impacting on road safety.

Camera cash cows to go: Premier

AS THE pressure builds on the new State Government to act decisively and stop the killing on our roads, the Premier has focused his attention on speed cameras.

An audit of NSW’s speed cameras will be carried out to determine if they really are having an impact on road safety.

If they are not, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says, “They will be ripped out”.

Mr O’Farrell on Thursday said each of the 172 fixed, six mobile and 60 safety cameras would be investigated in the auditor-general’s review.

The audit was needed to address motorists’ concerns the cameras had become mere cash cows under the previous government, rather than used to improve road safety, he said.

While the Premier admitted the unpopular devices were useful in curbing driver misbehaviour, he promised to rip out any camera used merely to gouge money out of NSW motorists.

“Fixed cameras can be useful, there is no doubt about that. Red-light cameras can be useful,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters at the RTA’s Traffic Management Centre in Sydney.

“What we want to make sure is that transparently, openly, 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 at the very least the audit, expected to take about three months, would “remove scepticism and cynicism about this issue”.

“At best it will demonstrate case by case whether these cameras are achieving their outcome,” he said.

The audit ‘ticked off’ on another election promise of the new government, Mr O’Farrell said.

Motoring group the NRMA applauded the audit, saying motorists had to be assured cameras were only used in spots that would make roads safer.

“The community needs to feel confident that these cameras are there to save lives and not to raise revenue,” NRMA president Wendy Machin said in a statement.

“This audit will go a long way to restoring that confidence.”

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner meanwhile remains committed to real action on fixing the ‘death zone’ in his electorate.

The notorious Urunga-Nambucca section of the highway is now regarded as the worst road in the state.

Mr Stoner has requested a meeting with Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.

Mr Albanese’s office said in due course a meeting would be held with incoming NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, which Mr Stoner was welcome to attend.

The meeting is being planned “as soon as possible” depending on the first available date in the ministers’ schedules.

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