Campbell stands firm on demerit points policy

By: Jason Whittaker


By Brad Gardner The Rees Government has again refused to alter New South Wales' controversial demerit points policy after the Opposition

By Brad Gardner

The Rees Government has again refused to alter New South Wales' controversial demerit points policy after the Opposition introduced a Bill to overhaul the system.

Although the Government last week chose to adjourn debate on the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment (Demerit Points) Bill until parliament resumes on October 20, Minister for Transport David Campbell has quashed any speculation the proposed changes will be accepted.

He says the current approach of issuing demerit points for any driver found guilty of a road safety offence has been successful.

"Demerit points have proven to be a strong incentive to drive in accordance with the road rules," he tells ABC.

"There are no plans to change the demerit points policy."

Nationals leader and opposition spokesman on roads Andrew Stoner introduced the Bill to amend the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act to give magistrates the power to rule on demerit points for speeding and traffic light offences.

The Act currently allows courts to waive financial penalties in extenuating circumstances but prohibits magistrates from ruling on demerit points. It means if someone is not fined then they will still lose points.

Stoner labels the process an "anomaly" and says demerit points should be dealt with in the same way fines are decided.

"If the fine is waived it is logical that the demerit points should also be waived," he says.

The Opposition decided against including in the Bill work diary offences under fatigue management regulations because the issue is being dealt with by a disallowance motion in the Legislative Council.

The Law Society of NSW has long campaigned for changes to the demerit points system on the basis offenders given a second chance by courts should not face further penalties.

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