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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Hunter MPs slam covert speed camera ‘cash cows’

Hunter MPs are united in criticising the NSW Government’s covert speed camera “cash cows”, stating the move to remove the warning signs had failed to stop bad driver behaviour.

In fact, income from the operations has leapt to about eight times the previous rate in just a short space of time.

According to Revenue NSW data, the return from the single month of January jumped to more than $3.4 million from just $382,000 in the same period in 2020.

The number of fines issued [in January] was 14,688 compared to just 1,956 from last year – a rise of 750%.

In the Hunter, Newcastle Road (Wallsend), Excelsior Parade (Toronto), Main Road (Edgeworth), King Street (Warners Bay), Victoria Street (Kurri Kurri), Lake Road (Elemore Vale), Lambton Road (New Lambton), University Drive (Callaghan), New England Highway (East Maitland) and the Pacific Highway (Tomago) appear to be the thoroughfares most heavily targeted.

“It is very important that people slow down, but drivers deserve respect,” Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery said.

“They shouldn’t be subject to a clandestine money grab.

“The cameras in the Hunter have shown massive increases with the electorate having four of the top 10 spots for fines issued by the camera in December 2020, including Newcastle Road at Wallsend being the number one position.”

Maitland state MP Jenny Aitchison said the large upsurge in the number of fines issued showed the government’s strategy has failed to make roads safer.

“The government should be advertising these changes, not rolling them out in silence,” she stated.

“The seven-and-a-half-fold increase in fines shows conclusively that having signage on these detection devices slows drivers down.

“Getting a fine in the mail two weeks later doesn’t.

“This is just another cash grab from the Liberals and Nationals, with no regard for improving safety on our roads.”

The changes announced by the NSW Government on 19 November last year included:

Scrapping warning signs for mobile speed cameras;

Removing the livery from vehicles conducting mobile speed checks; and

Tripling the hours of operation for each mobile speed camera operating in New South Wales.

Ms Aitchison said the changes were being gradually rolled out over 2021.

“I believe this will get worse,” she admitted.

“As the rollout ramps up, as more covert vehicles are deployed in secret, more drivers will receive their first ever speeding fine.

“In the meantime, speeding and other poor behaviour will continue.”

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