Today Abigail successfully negotiated an amendment to the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 that will see a loophole that currently allows drivers of company cars to avoid detection for speeding or other reckless driving offences.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (16:12:51): On behalf of The Greens I contribute to debate on the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2020. The Greens are broadly supportive of the bill's intent and the changes that it makes to the Road Transport Act 2013. I note two things in particular. The first is the introduction of the statutory rule that will allow the registration of any motor vehicle to be suspended or cancelled should the vehicle display offensive or discriminatory material. The Greens have been concerned about that issue for quite some time. Current and former Greens MPs have been campaigning for legislative change. Former upper House MP, now Federal senator, Mehreen Faruqi gave notice of a bill back in 2017 to put such a ban in place.
At that time she was rebuked by the roads Minister, who said that the legislation was unnecessary due to a voluntary agreement that the New South Wales Government had entered into with Wicked Campers. It was clearly shown not to be the case when the company, despite the so‑called voluntary agreement, continued to lease vehicles with misogynistic and deeply offensive slogans and imagery throughout the State. Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith has long campaigned for a legislative fix for the problem. She and her community on the North Coast will be glad to see the New South Wales Coalition Government finally adopt this much‑needed change. The second major change that The Greens welcome relates to corporations being unable to identify the drivers responsible for particular offences. The Greens will move two amendments to the bill, one of which relates to that issue. The Greens will support the Opposition's amendment relating to the reporting on the penalty notices for corporations.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (17:33:37): By leave: I move The Greens amendments Nos 2 and 3 on sheet c2020‑187B in globo:
No. 2 Statutory declaration
Page 5, Schedule 1. Insert after line 27—
Insert after section 188(1)—
(1A)For the purposes of subsection (1), if a person is a corporation, the person must—
(a)nominate an officer of the corporation to undertake to ascertain the nomination details of the person who was in charge of the vehicle at the time the offence occurred, and
(b)require the nominated officer to complete a statutory declaration as to the efforts undertaken to ascertain the nomination details, and
(c)provide the authorised officer or court, as the case may be, with the statutory declaration of the nominated officer.
No. 3 Statutory declaration
Page 5, Schedule 1. Insert after line 30—
[26A]Section 190 Use of statutory declarations as evidence
Insert "or (1A)" after "188(1)" in section 190(3).
While the bill in its current state takes the necessary steps to ensure that corporations are more adequately penalised for driving offences committed by unidentifiable drivers of their registered vehicles, it does not make the required changes to force them to take the steps to identify those drivers correctly. Over 7,000 incidents occurred in New South Wales in the 2019‑20 financial year where a corporation did not identify a driver of one of its vehicles for a driving offence. It is clear that the problem must be addressed. Amendment No. 2 outlines clearly the steps that corporations will be required to take in the event that one of its registered vehicles is involved in a driving offence where the identity of the driver cannot be established. The amendment provides that a corporation must nominate an officer to undertake an investigation into who was assigned the vehicle at the time of the incident. It requires that officer to complete a statutory declaration as to the efforts undertaken to ascertain the nomination details and to provide that declaration to the relevant body or court. Those changes, along with the penalty increases in the bill for a corporation that does not disclosing the identity of a driver involved in a driving offence while driving one of its vehicles, will work to reduce offences on our roads and to begin to unwind the culture that enables people to avoid responsibility and accountability for their actions by hiding behind corporate entities.