More on demerit points. Two years ago, then NSW Roads Minister Carl Scully announced a major review of all fines and demerit points. He appointed a Demerit Point Task Force including representatives from the NRMA, NSW Police, RTA and the Pedestrian Council (including myself). The NRMA’s policy was that the Demerit Points Scheme “needs to be reviewed to ensure it is fair, consistent and focused on safety.”

The task force took the view that all safety-related offences should incur demerit points, but penalties should be reviewed to ensure that offences that are most likely to endanger the community carry higher penalties.” Last year its recommendations went to the Ministerial Road Safety Task Force and then to Parliament, with Scully issuing a media release announcing the proposed changes September last year. But in early 2005 he was moved to Police and Michael Costa was moved to Roads. He put an immediate hold on the new laws.

Rumours have since abounded that he has been fiddling with the new scheme, which had unanimous approval from all concerned, including opposition leader John Brogden. One of the main initiatives was that there would be three demerit points for stopping in a pedestrian zone. This has been NRMA written policy since 1998. But behind the scenes Costa is being lobbied by the taxi, courier and trucking unions and it’s now believed that he’s agreed to drop the penalty for parking in a pedestrian zone to one demerit point. And this is the same politician who several years ago announced on TV that there would be two demerit points for playing loud music.

Perhaps the minister should get out of Prado and try looking at things from the pedestrians’ viewpoint. Those bullbars can do a lot of damage…