( Politicians want to get their hands on the little pot of gold from speed camera fines. - It's all about the money, not road safety. Always was - Always will be.) 9th Sept 2012
THE state government was forced into a backdown yesterday after it was caught moving laws which would have allowed speed camera fines to be put into consolidated revenue - instead of into road safety as promised.
In what has been a disastrous week for the government and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, it emerged when Ms Berejiklian introduced laws this week to set up a "Community Road Safety Fund" the laws contained a sneaky clause to allow the money to be hived off into consolidated revenue. The government had promised to prove speed cameras were not about revenue-raising by directing money to road safety.
In the week in which the government encountered a PR disaster over Ms Berejiklian's decision to release a transport masterplan with $100 billion worth of projects and very little funding behind it, Treasury appeared to have hoodwinked the government into reneging on its speed camera promise.
The law stated that: "Any money in the Community Road Safety Fund that TFNSW (Transport for NSW) determines, with the concurrence of the Treasurer, is not required to meet expenditure incurred in relation to the road safety functions of Transport for NSW, is to be paid into the Consolidated Fund."
president Wendy Machin accused the government of falling victim to Treasury.
"The NRMA and the Police Association called before the last election for all the money raised from speed cameras [to go to] road safety .. make that the law.
"We've now seen the Bill come out and we're very disappointed there's a clause in there which allows Treasury to take . . money and put that into consolidated revenue.
"This is certainly not what we expected . . we were not told there was going to be an escape clause.
"To be honest Treasury hates hypothecation. They hate the notion of money being taken from one source and dedicated to another. We know governments are always short of money . . always looking for revenue . . and I think this is Treasury exercising their muscle.
But Roads Minister Duncan Gay issued a statement yesterday afternoon, saying the clause would be taken out.
This is not an issue the NRMA had raised previously," Mr Gay said.
"But now that they have raised their concerns, we have spoken to the Treasurer and agreed we will remove that provision in the legislation.
"It was always the intention that all money raised from camera detected offences be spent on road safety."
The government has already copped flak after it increased the number of mobile speed cameras by 39 and doubledthe number of red light cameras from 91 to 200 in a policy announcement in July. It also controversially increased speeding fines by 12.5 per cent in the June budget.
Before the election, Mr Gay accused the then Labor government of "revenue raising" through speed cameras.
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Vicki Dunne MLA. Photo: Jay Cronan
Michael Inman, Noel Towell (Canberra Times)
July 1, 2012
FIVE ACT MLAs have been fined a combined $4247 for traffic infringements while driving taxpayer-funded cars.
The Sunday Canberra Times can reveal the Liberal and Labor members have accumulated 10 separate speeding and parking offences since the 2008 territory election.
While the MLAs were forced to pay the fines out of their own pockets, the cars driven were provided by the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Documents obtained under freedom of information show Canberra Liberals justice spokeswoman Vicki Dunne was the worst offender, racking up five infringements since January 2010.
The would-be attorney-general was slugged a total of $1827 for two parking and three speeding breaches.
The most recent was in June last year, when Ms Dunne was caught travelling at 89km/h in an 80km/h zone on Hindmarsh Drive.
Ms Dunne has kept a clean sheet for the past 12 months and was penitent about her previous indiscretions.
''There's never an excuse for speeding,'' Ms Dunne said. ''This car is used regularly by myself and my family and when these issues have arisen everyone who uses the car - including myself - is reminded of their responsibility not to exceed the speed limit.''
Alistair Coe was the only other Liberal MLA caught breaking the law.
The ardent critic of fixed speed cameras was clocked travelling at 94km/h in an 80km/h zone on the Federal Highway between Antill Street and Majura Road.
He was fined $745.
Police Minister Simon Corbell was the worst of the Labor MLAs, booked twice for parking violations.
The Attorney-General was fined $255.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has kept a clean slate since becoming leader in May last year.
But Ms Gallagher was not so lucky in 2008, when she was caught 10km/h above the speed-limit in Watson and fined $675.
Children's Minister Joy Burch was also caught speeding in Watson and penalised $745.
The ACT Greens avoided running foul of the law, with the environmentally conscious party forgoing the right to a taxpayer-funded vehicle.Add a comment
POLICE Commissioner Bob Atkinson has been caught speeding on the Story Bridge a blunder he has revealed two days after police and The Courier-Mail launched a road safety campaign.
Mr Atkinson was caught on February 3 and was believed to be travelling at 70km/h in a 60km/h zone.
He will lose one demerit point and pay a fine of $133.
Mr Atkinson said he was embarrassed because of his position and because he had just been promoting the road safety message to media.
"I feel as though I've let you down, I feel as though I've let my colleagues down (and) I feel as though I've let the community down," he told reporters in Brisbane.
He has blamed the offence on a lapse in concentration.
He told reporters that he did not see the speed camera flash while he was driving with a colleague to police headquarters.
"It was brought to my notice that there might be an issue last Friday," he said.
It's not the first time the police chief been nabbed for driving too fast.
Mr Atkinson said he received a ticket for a similar speeding offence in 2009 while holidaying in NSW.
He said he was also caught speeding in 1998 when he was an assistant commissioner in far north Queensland based at Cairns.
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Two police officers arrested and four raids conducted as part of ongoing investigation into speed camera corruption scandal in Italy.
A pair of senior police officers in Brindisi, Italy were arrested Tuesday in a speed camera bribery scheme. The owner of a BMW X6 blew the whistle on officers Giuseppe Manca and Antonio Briganti after a speed camera accused him of driving 160km/h (99 MPH) on state route 16, where the limit is 110km/h (68 MPH).
The driver faced a fine of between 500 to 2000 euros (US $650 to $2615) plus license points. The officers offered to make the conviction disappear for payment of 250 euros (US $327) in cash. The officers were able to erase the conviction from the speed camera logs to prevent detection of their tactics.
The attempt at secrecy failed when the BMW found he was out of cash. The driver's account of what transpired is supported by surveillance video showing one of the policemen escorting him to a bank in the village of Pezze di Greco to withdraw money. Judge Paula Liaci ordered Briganti and Manca to be placed in preventative detention.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor in Grosseto conducted four raids on the offices of speed camera companies in Capagnativo and Scarlino. Investigators uncovered irregularities in the way speed camera contracts were handed out in those jurisdictions between 2005 and 2007. Previously, local police handled speed camera operations, but prosecutors insist forgery, corruption and bid rigging led to the decision to contract out the photo ticketing services.
Investigations into Italian speed camera fraud have been in the works for years. Earlier this month, seven were arrested in Frosinone for rigging speed camera contracts. In March, the Guardia di Finanza announced five indictments in Brescia. In August 2009, speed cameras were shrouded in black plastic as up to 200 officials faced charges in Caserta. In September, a judge ruled that a group of 15 mayors, cops, speed camera company employees should stand trial on fraud charges.