On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party I am pleased to speak in support of the Road Transport Amendment (Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program) Bill 2014. Earlier this week, this House dealt with a related bill and the Christian Democratic Party strongly supported that bill as well. This is the second stage of the Government’s plan to reduce accidents on New South Wales roads caused through the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. In the 12 months prior to February this year 12.7 per cent of fatal accidents on New South Wales roads involved alcohol and 43 people died in those accidents. That is 43 immediate families, not to mention extended families and friends, who experienced the loss of a loved one as a result of drink-driving.
During my 33 years in this place, I have been relentless in campaigning against the harmful impact of alcohol. Over the years I have introduced a series of bills dealing with alcohol advertising, the labelling of liquor and so on.
This bill is a big step in the right direction. It will introduce a mandatory alcohol interlock program for serious and repeat drink-driving offenders in New South Wales. It is my recommendation to the Government that individuals involved in serious and repeat drink-driving offences should not be allowed to drive, full stop, that they should have their driving licence permanently cancelled and that, if they are caught behind the wheel of a car without a licence, they go to jail.
The program will replace the voluntary interlock program that has been operating in New South Wales since 2003 and will target serious and repeat drink-drive offenders who are facing licence disqualification for drink-driving.
When implemented, the mandatory program is expected to reduce the reoffending rate of high-risk drink-drivers from the current one-in-six to one-in-twelve. This equates to a reduction of around 500 offences per year.
In addition, Roads and Maritime Services will update its current licensing policy and procedures to ensure all drink-drivers who are convicted of a second or subsequent offence in a five-year period sit a specially-created drink-driving knowledge test prior to returning to driving.