Fierce opposition looming over speed camera warning plan
A PROPOSAL to ditch speed camera warning signs across the state was revealed before it was brought before Cabinet, blindsiding senior ministers who first heard of the policy through the media and sparking internal division.
The plan by Roads and Transport Minister Andrew Constance is expected to be met with fierce opposition from the Nationals amid concern it will disproportionately affect country motorists who are forced to drive long distances due to a lack of public transport.
It can also be revealed the StaySafe standing committee, which monitors, investigates and reports on road safety in NSW, was caught off-guard by the proposed changes.
"At the moment the StaySafe committee has not taken a position on this matter and they are meeting next week where they may discuss it," committee chair Lou Amato said last night.
Mr Constance is refusing to release Monash University research, commissioned by the state government, which he claims shows up to 54 lives each year could be saved if speed camera warning signs are scrapped.
There have been 313 fatalities on NSW roads so far this year, up from 298 deaths at the same time last year.
A survey by The Daily Telegraph yesterday found the vast majority of voters did not believe digital speed camera warning signs should be removed. There was only 295 "yes" votes compared to 1100 "no" votes on the question of whether they should be ditched.
There are also rumblings the NSW government will activate point-to-point speed cameras, which are currently only used on trucks, for all road users.
Mr Constance would not be drawn on the issue, with a spokeswoman only saying there has been "no change in government policy".
Richard Olsen from the TWU NSW branch slammed removing warning signs as a revenue-raiser which could also increase the likelihood of crashes.
"(Motorists) are speeding and see the camera, so they panic and slam on the brakes, and then the 65-plus tonne truck behind them doesn't have time to stop, so we now have a fatality that we didn't need," he said.
"Removing warning signs is for revenue raising purposes only, there is no reason to fix something has been going well for decades."
The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance said the proposal is a $200 million revenue raiser.
"Roads with speed camera signs, but no real cameras would slow drivers without bringing in revenue," spokeswoman Emilie Dye said.
Labor's spokesman for roads John Graham also agreed it was a "cash grab" and called on the government to release the Monash report.