Two new cameras for Coast
May 18th, 2009
THE Queensland Government stands to reap millions of extra dollars when two fixed speed cameras are installed on the Gold Coast.
The cameras will be placed at notorious crash spots on the Gold Coast Highway at Labrador and Broadbeach and are expected to be operating by July.
But the introduction of the fixed cameras has drawn criticism from some who claim they are simply revenue-raising tools.
Three fixed cameras currently installed at Burpengary, Tarragindi and Kangaroo Point generate up to $20,000 a day for the Government, with 170 drivers caught speeding on a daily basis.
Police Minister Neil Roberts has defended the use of the cameras and maintains they are a deterrent despite a high number of drivers still speeding past them.
"I refute absolutely that the placement of speed cameras, whether fixed or mobile, is revenue-raising," said Mr Roberts.
"As police minister I would like nothing more than to have to dismantle or decommission cameras on the basis they don't earn enough money to pay their costs.
"This is all about raising the presence of law enforcement activity on our roadways and we do that in a range of ways.
"Obviously people will pay fines if caught by a speed camera, but in the end it's all about providing a deterrent to people who speed and drive dangerously."
While Mr Roberts admitted the cameras would raise money for the Government, he said the cameras were clearly signed for drivers, with at least two signs warning motorists they were approaching a speed camera.
But the cameras have been dismissed as a substitute for real policing by the National Motorists Association of Australia, which said the cameras cannot detect other dangerous driving behaviours like drink and drug driving.
Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said a higher presence of police on the streets would provide a much stronger deterrent for irresponsible drivers.
"For me it seems definitely to be an issue of a government under revenue pressure doing revenue-raising, but nothing substitutes for police on the beat and we currently have a much lower ratio in this area of the state than they do in other parts of Queensland," said Mr Langbroek.
"Everyone behaves differently when they see a policeman standing on the side of the road than when there's a camera that will send you a ticket a month later."
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Mr Roberts said the two new sites on the Gold Coast were selected because of their history of traffic crashes causing injury and, in one case, death.
The speed limit on the Gold Coast Highway at Labrador is 60km/h while at Broadbeach it's 70km/h.
But Mr Langbroek said he had doubts about whether the cameras would actually lower the road toll.
"I haven't seen any statistics that show (fixed cameras) are lowering the road toll, which is exactly why we're supposed to be getting them," he said.
"I'd expect the Police Minister to be able to tell us in a year or two that we're only getting 100 (people caught speeding) a day or 90 a day and eventually none if they really are a deterrent, and I'd also expect to see a considerable decline in accident and injury."