Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP, Robbie Katter has declared heads need to roll following the botched launch of the Department of Transport’s new speed camera program across North Queensland.

Mr Katter said the State Government has become fixated on the revenue-raising potential of speed cameras, cynically exploiting the public’s concerns about road safety while diverting attention from the abysmal condition of the State’s rural highway system.

Mr Katter’s call comes after dozens of motorists approached Mr Katter’s electoral office with complaints about a speed camera located at the edge of a 60km zone, at the eastern entrance of Torrens Creek, a small town on the Flinders Highway, three hours west of Townsville.

According to locals in the 70-person town, the camera has since been moved.

A key criteria for the placement of a speed camera, according to the Department, is that at least two speed-related accidents need to have occurred in the general area within the last five years. 

But data freely available on the Department of Transport website shows that no accidents have occurred on that stretch of highway in the more than 20 years the data goes back.

“You’d have to wonder why the Department would put a speed camera at that precise spot, because based on their own data, it had nothing to do with accident history,” Mr Katter said.

“And if that area really was a high incident blackspot, the Department didn’t have a lot of courage in their convictions, moving it as soon as we started making noise about it.

“The Department doesn’t even pretend these cameras will improve road safety. 

“They know that if you want to maximise revenue from a speed camera you place it where drivers are most likely to be ramping.

“Which is why speed cameras are now being found on the margins of the small communities along the Flinders Highway, including Prairie, Julia Creek, Hughenden, Cloncurry, Torrens Creek, Charters Towers and locations on the Tablelands.”

Mr Katter cites Department statistics which show that of the 34 accidents within a 20km radius of Torrens Creek in the last 20 years, half have been on the unsealed Torrens Creek-Aramac Road.

“The most serious accidents are occurring many kilometres away from where these cameras are located, frequently on unsealed shire roads, for which local governments are given precious little funding,” he said.

”In the bush speed camera placement has nothing to do with actual accident history.

“Placing the cameras in high incident areas along the Flinders Highway would immediately draw attention to the atrocious condition of the Flinders Highway, especially either side of Hughenden where the road conditions wreak havoc.

“The cynicism needs to be called out, and those responsible hung out to dry, because it’s doing nothing to improve public safety, while doing everything to ruin the lives of people in the bush.

“If you really want to improve road safety then fix the bloody roads.”

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said over 360 people have contacted his office, with close to 600 fines totalling $300,000 from an unmanned speed camera positioned just outside Malanda, a small town with only 2,600 people.

“Laws are in place to change behaviour but how on earth is placing a camera on a road which is a low crash area justified?” Mr Knuth said.

“How is giving an emergency nurse seven fines, or a pensioner visiting his wife in the nearby aged care facility a way to change people’s behaviour if they are not notified until a month after the alleged offence?

“This is purely about revenue raising. I have serious concerns about not only the criteria used to determine where these devices are placed, but also the process in place to test these devices everyday they are at these locations.”

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