It was 2019 and the TWU was amongst the voices who protested the removal of warning signs for mobile speed cameras. We recognised the move for what it was, a revenue raising process for the NSW Government.
I want to make it clear that the TWU acknowledges the role that mobile speed cameras play as one of many tools to reduce speeding and improve road safety. We do have serious concerns about the way they currently operate.
It is as clear as daylight, removal of the warning signs has served as a massive revenue raiser for the NSW Government. The revenue from mobile speed cameras for offences less than 10km/h has increased from $2.3 million in 2019/2020 to $23.3 million in the last financial year.
A jump in revenue like that can only mean one thing. Speed cameras are playing a game of catch all, rather than acting as the deterrent they were originally supposed to be.
The TWU have seen the evidence available from the first six months of 2021 and it shows that the changes to the mobile speed camera program announced in November 2020 have not had a significant effect in terms of reducing rates of speeding, but we can see the cash for the NSW Government rolling in.
The financial hit on drivers must be tremendous, already suffering at the hands of the other revenue raisers like Transurban Linkt and their ongoing increase in toll road costs and the fuel companies, whose prices for diesel continue to increase.
We have safety concerns that need to heard as well, for example, some car drivers panic when they recognise at the last minute, an unmarked speed camera, they then slam on the brakes. What safety assurances does a heavy vehicle operator travelling behind that car have?
If the NSW Government are serious about their safety claims for removing the signage, then they can help us out with the following recommendations the TWU made to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry.
Let’s look at the truth of what is happening. The TWU is calling on the NSW Government to publicly provide the detailed data about mobile speed camera fines, including the number of fines issued to heavy vehicles.
Get the locations right. The NSW Government should consider factors such as population distribution, traffic volumes, the mix of vehicle types and historical road safety data at particular locations when apportioning additional operation hours for mobile speed cameras. Such factors must be considered when considering new locations for mobile speed cameras to operate in.
Bring back the signage. The NSW Government should introduce permanent mobile speed camera warning signs for both directions of travel, at every approved mobile speed camera location. This includes installing signage at any new locations that are added to the list of approved locations in the future.
Safety in the transport industry is a shared responsibility, to bring drivers back home at the end of each shift, not an opportunity to raise revenue.