Nov 1, 2021


Nov 1, 2021

The upto $80 million revenue the Queensland Government is set to make each year through covert police cameras designed to catch distracted drivers must be re-directed to improving rural and regional roads, Katter’s Australian Party Leader Robbie Katter has said.

This would include the Bruce Highway which just yesterday was the site of a tragic fatal crash involving three vehicles, the Traeger MP said.

Mr Katter said the Bruce Highway, known as the “Bruce goat track” to many in the North, had previously been named the most dangerous road in the State.

He said rural and regional roads across Queensland were over-represented in fatalities, with the latest RACQ data listing Callide, Nanango, Burnett, Gympie and Traeger as the most dangerous electorates in Queensland based on road deaths.[1]

Mr Katter said that while driver attention and patience was crucial, the regions often had to battle with sub-standard road conditions that were risking lives.

“While the south-east is undergoing a multi-billion dollar upgrade of its transport network with the Cross River Rail, we are pleading for widening works, overtaking lanes and bridge upgrades for regional roads,” he said.

“The further west you go, the worse it is with the bad conditions compounded by the high amount of heavy haulage being freighted by road when it should really be on the rail.

“The Government’s new fines come into play today, which will see people hit with a $1,033 bill if they are caught on their mobile phone or without a seatbelt.

“This is an exorbitantly high figure, and much higher than the penalties handed out for drink or drug driving.

“This has led to many, including the KAP, being concerned the fines are a cash grab.

“So now we need assurances the $80-million plus the Government could make annually out of these new measures is spent on the same purpose for which is it collected – to save lives on the roads.”

Mr Katter said it would be unacceptable, and disingenuous, if the money collected through the new fines was used to boost the Government’s coffers or put towards the staging of the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032.

“Most people’s lives have been touched by the loss of a loved one or a friend in a road accident – it’s not something you forget or get over,” he said.

“Today the KAP are calling on the Government to commit to redirecting any profits it makes through these fines back into the regions that need them most, starting with the Bruce Highway and the western roads that have been over-represented in fatalities in the last 12 months.”

From late July, 2021, covert police cameras were installed on roads across Queensland, with letters issued to drivers warning that those using their mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts would be targeted.

Between July 26 and October 16, the Department of Transport and Main Roads sent out more than 21,000 warning letters for seat belt and phone-related offences.

This would have amounted to $20 million in fines over the 82-day period, had the penalties been enforced.

When extrapolated out to 12 months, this indicates the Department could issue more than $80 million worth of fines if current offence rates continue.

From today, Queensland drivers caught out by the cameras will be hit with a $1,033 fine and four demerit points.