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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3865

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to statements by Dr T. C. Helvey, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Tennessee, that computer systems are being developed that will control traffic speeds on highways.

(2)   If so, will he have his Department investigate and evaluate these claims with a view to incorporating any successful systems in Australia.

Mr Charles Jones - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No.

(2)   Systems are in service both overseas and in Australia in which computers are used to assist in the control of traffic speeds on arterial streets, particularly at intersections. Developments in this field are kept under review by the Department of Transport, with a view to encouraging the further use of suitable systems in Australia where practicable. My Department has taken steps to acquire copies of any publications by Dr Helvey which are relevant to this topic.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Road (Question No. 1248)

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   With reference to the recent collision in South Australia between a fuel truck and a car and caravan in which 3 Western Australians were incinerated, will he investigate the possibility of Australian standards for the carriage of inflammable fuels being reviewed, taking into account fire fighting equipment for vehicles and training of personnel, including contractors.

(2)   Where loose tanks are used on a table top type vehicle, will he also investigate the possibility of introducing under-run surround bars as a standard requirement.

(3)   Where road contractors are using long distance hauls parallel to railways, will he investigate the possibility, in conjunction with State authorities, of rationalising the hauls with a view to eliminating the road danger as much as possible.

Mr Charles Jones - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Australian standards concerning such matters are contained in the 'Model Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road' prepared by an advisory committee and endorsed by the Australian Transport Advisory Council. The code sets down requirements upon which new or amended State and Australian Government legislation might be drafted in order to introduce more uniformity in the various regulations in Australia.

The model code currently includes provisions relating to:

(a)   Training of drivers in handling of dangerous goods

(b)   instructions to drivers on the action to be taken in case of emergency, and reminders on contact with manufacturer and emergency services

(c)   provision of fire extinguishers and instructions to drivers on their use

(d)   security of the load.

The model code is constantly under review and such matters as have been raised are taken into account.

(2)   The matter of under-run barriers for commercial vehicles is currently under study by the advisory committees to the Australian Transport Advisory Council. The advisory committees are also examining measures to increase the visibility of the vehicle with the aim of preventing collisions and the committees are studying recent United Kingdom experience with the use of high visibility reflective placards.

(3)   The aim of the Government's overall transport policy is to provide Australia with a modern, efficient and economic integrated transport system with each transport mode performing those tasks to which it is most suited. There is already some evidence to suggest that the proportion of the domestic freight traffic task, in terms of ton-miles, performed by rail compared with road is increasing. Most of this increase would be due to a substantial increase in freight moved by rail on long distance routes. I would hope that as we are able to redress the present imbalance in investment in the different modes, particularly rail vis a vis road, the problem will right itself. In fact I have already asked the Bureau of Transport Economics to undertake a comprehensive study of the mainline railway systems to establish their investment needs for freight operations.

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