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Thursday, 26 November 2009
Page: 13278


Mr HALE (9:39 AM) —I rise today to send a message to all Territorians and to those people who are fortunate enough to visit our great part of the world. The message is about taking care on our roads. In July this year the ABC in Darwin reported on a report by the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government that in 2007 the Northern Territory had by far the highest per capita rate of road deaths when compared with the rest of Australia and OECD countries. In 2007 there were 27 deaths per 100,000 people in the Northern Territory. The next highest rate in Australia was Western Australia, which recorded 11 deaths per 100,000 people. Australia’s average is almost eight. Poland had the highest death toll rate of any OECD country with 15 people in every 100,000 killed in road accidents.

The Northern Territory road toll in 2007 was 57. Last year 75 people died on territory roads, by far the worst year in the last six years. The numbers and statistics are pretty easy to rattle off and we do this all the time in this place on all sorts of issues, but it saddens me greatly when I reflect on the staggering numbers: 75 families lost loved ones, children lost fathers, brothers lost sisters, uncles lost nieces, grandmothers lost grandsons and mates lost mates forever. On a positive note, I am very pleased to report that this year’s road toll stands at 29. However, I have heard unconfirmed reports that someone lost their life last night. Thirty people possibly killed on territory roads already this year is 30 people too many. However, it is a vast improvement on last year’s statistics. But it is not a time to be complacent. It is so important that we remain vigilant.

I wish to put on record my thanks and absolute support for the Northern Territory Police Force, which has no doubt played an integral role in keeping our roads safe and continues to save lives just as all our emergency services personnel do—the ambos, firies, emergency services workers and hospital staff. I ask that all Australians take a minute to reflect during this upcoming festive season and thank these fantastic men and women. While we will all be enjoying time with our families during the festive season, these people, our men and women, will be working continually to do a great job protecting us on the roads and supporting people after accidents. I would like to send a Christmas message and New Year wishes to all the great people in my electorate of Solomon, in Darwin and Palmerston. But, as I said, I really do need to stress this: take it easy on our roads, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, don’t run red lights and, most of all, drive to survive and to spend time with your family during the Christmas and New Year period.