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Traffic and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 - Second Reading

27 September 2018

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, the Greens will be supporting the Traffic and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. We recognise it is a common sense change. It is funny, Mr Hidding, and I - your predecessor, Mr Rockliff - had some discussions at Estimates tables past about the kind of space that exists between the Department of State Growth's traffic management section and councils in relation to matters of community safety. This one was about the children who cross Hill Street and Lansdowne Crescent to get to school each day. Anyone who regularly uses Hill Street will recognise it is a road on which people can travel too fast. It is part of the reason, I think it was you, Mr Hidding, but it might have been Mr McKim when he was the minister -

Mr Hidding - If it was good, it was me.

Ms O'CONNOR - The 40 kilometres per hour near the train park? If it was good it was you, of course.

Mr O'Byrne - I'm not sure if you are a fan of a reduction of speed limits, Mr Hidding. I remember a couple of media pieces.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is all coming out now. Again, though, this was a controversial decision and it goes to the point you were making, Mr O'Byrne, about how issues such as traffic management and measures to improve road safety can become contentious and cause conflict. 

The situation, as I understand it, at the Hill Street Train Park was precarious, as anyone who goes down Hill Street and knows. You have to go very, very slowly down that part of Hill Street and the speed limit was changed from 50 kilometres an hour to 40 kilometres an hour. Was that you or Mr McKim?

Mr Hidding - Yes, it was me.

Madam SPEAKER - Yes, I would like to support that.

Mr Hidding - In fact, I remember someone who looked like you being up there with us.

Madam SPEAKER - That is correct. 

Ms O'CONNOR - That is right. It is really important that -

Mr O'Byrne - Let's be clear, this is Jeremy's legislation. Don’t vertically displace him, okay?

Ms O'CONNOR - That was an important road safety improvement because of the small children who play at the train park. They come running out from behind the cars that are parked along the train park. Sometimes, when I am travelling down that hill at 40 kilometres an hour, I think we could go slower and I do. The issue I initially raised was about the children at Lansdowne Crescent Primary School who had to play dodgeball with cars each morning. Some would walk with their parents but others did not. It took some considerable amount of time for the parents and the school association to navigate their way through whose responsibility it was, how the work could be done with your excellent person in State Growth, Shane Gregory -

Mr Hidding - He is the General Manager of State Roads. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you very much - he is the General Manager of State Roads, who is very good at his job. It was an interesting conversation about how you make sure you are keeping children safe. It would have seemed like so much of this was common sense but the decision as to how you would calm the traffic, as I understand it, sat with council. The parents wanted a level crossing, perhaps you could update the House on what the works are because there is a considerable amount of work being undertaken on Hill Street at the intersection with Lansdowne Crescent. 

Mr Hidding - It is council work.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is entirely council work?

Mr Hidding - It is a council road, it needed State Growth involved to make it all happen. If there are works underway it would be council works. 

Ms O'CONNOR - There are definitely works underway, which is really good to see. 

Mr Hidding - Triggered by the former mayor. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Triggered by the former mayor, I would say, Madam Speaker, in response to very effective lobbying on the part of parents and the school association. 

Madam SPEAKER - That is fair to say. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, that is right. I am sure the Lansdowne Crescent Primary School community would be very pleased to see the works happening on Hill Street. 

Mr Hidding - The former Speaker was all over it as well. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, I know. I went up to Hill Street to meet the parents with the former Speaker. You are feeling dangerous today, Mr Hidding. When I first looked at this legislation, I found it hard to believe we needed it. I came to understand there are problems in the Local Government Highways Act 1982 and the Traffic Act 1925, which restrict councils. 

Mr O'Byrne - Was it the vertical displacement device thing?

Ms O'CONNOR - Well, no. It is simply that you would not have thought there would be such a bureaucratic divide on the issue of speed humps. I like the vertical displacement device. It is very good.

When we are looking at matters of inner urban road safety, much of the works undertaken are reactive and ad hoc. It is time that we engaged in a more comprehensive roads infrastructure resilience audit, which I niggled at you about for a while in your previous role, Mr Hidding. This would be in relation to road safety, climate resilience and adaptation. Speed humps do not have a lot to do with climate adaptation but having a long-term plan for infrastructure policy that goes beyond roads is sound public policy, Mr Rockliff. There should be much greater strategic thinking in relation to roads and other infrastructure. This is one of those situations that points to the importance of a reform such as the Greater Hobart Act. We have not seen that legislation. 

Madam Speaker, I note that in your previous role as mayor you wrote to all parties about the need for a Greater Hobart act, as did Doug Chipman, the Mayor of Clarence, the most oppressive council in Tasmania. It is certainly something that this House needs to attend to because there is no question Hobart is growing and people want to come to live here from all over the world. We have people coming here because of climate change and we need to make sure that local government around our capital city is working very closely together and making decisions in concert that are evidence based and strategic so we can be sure that this beautiful city, the most beautiful city in the whole world in my view, continues to grow in a way that is not only sustainable but has an emphasis on liveability and making sure that it is a city for people. 

That has to be the priority of reform of the relationship between local councils in the south of the state and the state Government, whatever colour it may be. There should be some sort of longevity about a policy approach to the City of Hobart and Greater Hobart, Clarence, Sorell, Kingborough, Brighton, councils that are all working together to represent their communities and hopefully making good decisions that have long-term strategic thinking behind them. With those words, we support the bill.