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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2929


Senator TOWNLEY(9.22) —During the examination of the Department of Transport's estimates I brought up once again a matter on which I have been trying to get some satisfaction for seven years. I refer to the situation in Australia of not being able to turn left through red lights. Motorists in many States of the United States of America are able to do so. There seem to be more traffic lights per head in Tasmania than there are in any other State. Now that the price of petrol in Tasmania is so high it is about time the Department of Transport followed up on this matter more than it has in the past. I would like to read a reply that I received from the Department. It says:

Following the Estimates Committee meeting in September 1985 a detailed reply on this question was provided to Senator Townley.

Since that time there have not been any significant developments in Australia or, on the basis of recent inquiries, overseas.

Of course there have not been any developments overseas because other countries have already adopted the practice, but this practice has not been adopted in this country. For some reason the Department of Transport has done nothing in the five, six or seven years that I have been trying to get something decided on this matter. The practice of turning left through red lights helps to ease the flow of traffic in areas which are restricted by traffic lights. The Minister seems to think that this is a laughing matter and I suppose it does sound a little trivial. However, it is something that could well be of assistance to a great number of people in this country. The reply also states:

Senior staff of the Federal Office of Road Safety would be pleased to discuss this matter with Senator Townley if he wishes.

The point is that there is not much to be discussed. The Department only has to look at what is done in other parts of the world and follow that up. I just ask why some action is not being taken on this matter.