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Wednesday, 21 May 1986
Page: 3639


Ms MAYER —My question is addressed to the Minister for Transport. Has his attention been drawn to recent Press reports of the high speed car race entitled the `Capricorn Run' in which the target time for the distance Brisbane to Perth is 29 hours, requiring an average speed of more than 100 kilometres an hour without a break? Given that road crashes cost the economy $3,000m annually and 3,000 Australian lives, what action is possible by Government to prevent this lunacy?


Mr PETER MORRIS —I have seen the report to which the honourable member has referred and I think everyone in this House who has seen it would share my sadness that this kind of competition is being promoted. All honourable members would agree that the most horrific social problem in this country is death and casualties on the road. The article to which the honourable member referred was published in the Daily Mirror and was entitled `Brisbane to Perth in 29 hours'. As she correctly said, to achieve that target time would require an average speed in excess of 100 kilometres per hour. That speed could not be achieved within the law and, sadly, the example it sets for young people to emulate is the very thing which is most likely to lead to death or serious injury on the roads. The article goes on to say that most vehicles competing in this race would have as standard equipment radar jammers, radar detectors, citizen band radios and brake light isolator switches, and that some participants have even invested $5,000 to buy infra-red night vision devices which would allow them to run without lights, thereby avoiding visual detection.


Mr Goodluck —Who is sponsoring this?


Mr PETER MORRIS —It is called the Australian Cannonball Run. I have not got a list of sponsors; I would have to check that. Budget Rent A Car System Pty Ltd appears to have entered a prestige fleet in the race. I will get the honourable member a list of the firms later. This kind of exercise encourages the very antithesis of the things we are trying to develop in young people who use the roads. Rather than developing responsibility, it will encourage irresponsibility; rather than encouraging a cautious safe speed, it will encourage high speed; it will also encourage driving long distances in a fatigued state-


Mr Donald Cameron —What are you going to do about it?


Mr PETER MORRIS —I am drawing attention to the dangers that are involved in this race, to the very flouting of the law that is proposed in order to achieve the target of this competition, and to the risking of young people's lives that is involved. We, as a government, have given very clear direction and priority to changing community attitudes and behaviour and driver attitudes and behaviour on our roads in an effort to reduce the level of road casualties. Car racing belongs to the race track, not to the highways or the roadways of this nation. I have every expectation that the State police and enforcement authorities will be very vigilant about this exercise. I want to see them do everything they can to ensure that the law is complied with and that the requirements and regulations are followed by the participants. I make one last appeal to those people who are associated with this exercise: Have another think about it, draw back and retire from it, and instead use your resources to encourage people to use the roads safely in an effort to reduce road casualties.