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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - The Commonwealth Government does, of course, support the road safety movement to the extent referred to by the honorable senator. I cannot say off hand what researches or inquiries are undertaken by the various components of the safety research organisation. In each State there is an independent body, supported by its State Government and also supported, if not financially at least in the provision of suitable personnel, by a State department and by private enterprise. Indeed, in many respects this is quite a remarkable example of cooperation. However, I am not aware of the precise extent of the research that is being carried out.

I recall that some years ago at least one of the components of the Australian Road Safety Council undertook an inquiry similar to the inquiry conducted in Ohio, in the United States of America, although not on the same scale. Certain towns were designed as safety first towns for a period, if ! remember correctly, of two or three months. A close watch was kept on the traffic patterns and behaviour and the accident rates in those towns. The results were made available, as I remember, to all road safety organisations throughout the Commonwealth. I. think my best course is to ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport, Mr. Freeth, to give me a more complete answer as to present activities.

I do not think I can offer the honorable senator any encouragement in respect of driver training. The training and licensing of drivers and the setting of standards are matters which are peculiarly within the functions of the States. Over the years an attempt has been made to reach standards both for traffic and driving. Notwithstanding that attempt, this is a matter for State determination in isolation.

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