Cycling regulations

In Parliament - Thursday, 29 October 2015

Mr DULUK ( Davenport) (15:23:48): I rise today to add my voice to the weight of community concern with regard to the new cycling rules. I strongly support road safety, as does everyone on this side of the house, and I want to work with the government to make sure that our roads are as safe as possible for all road users; however, this government does not share my willingness for collaboration. It has purposely removed any opportunity for non-government participation in this debate.

The government has moved these changes through regulation. That means that new rules will not be considered by parliament, the people's house. There will be no opportunity for the minister to answer questions, no opportunity for debate, no opportunity for amendment, and no opportunity for parliament to vote on the changes. The irony is that this government, led by the Premier, who recently launched 'Reforming Democracy: Deciding, Designing and Delivering Together', continues to put the message of democratic reform and bringing people into the decision-making process. In his message at the start of the Reforming Democracy policy document the Premier states:

I have long held the view that people should have more opportunity to be involved in the decisions that affect their lives.

It is a fundamental part of our democracy—how we ensure fairness and how we allow opportunity and diversity to flourish.

Yet, too many people feel locked out of government decision-making processes.

Well, Premier, you are not wrong. People do feel locked out of the decision-making process, including me and everyone on this side of the house. My constituents, the people of Davenport, are also feeling locked out by this process. I have been inundated with phone calls, emails and visits from constituents venting their concerns about the process with regard to these regulations. Some support it, some do not support it, but everyone is disappointed with the process. In a representative democracy it is reprehensible that the government has removed the opportunity for parliament to debate on such consequential and contentious reforms.

It is the role of all members of parliament to present, debate and amend legislation. It should not be the arbitrary process of the government of the day. Perhaps the Premier’s push to bring people into democracy should start with engaging the parliament. The new rules themselves reflect the incompetence of this government. The government spent 10 months working on ways to share the roads safely, but instead of making improvements it has caused widespread confusion. The most vulnerable are now the pedestrians who will have to share footpaths with cyclists.

Road safety is the responsibility of every road user. The majority of cyclists and motorists are overwhelmingly compliant with road rules and most display courtesy to each other on the road. We must also acknowledge that whilst there are good drivers and good cyclists, there are also bad drivers and bad cyclists. It is why it is so important that legislators strike a balance that all road users and the broader community agree on.

Of course, we do need to talk about the real issues, and road safety is certainly a real issue. Whilst I acknowledge the importance of road safety, these changes have been yet another attempt by this government to distract South Australians from the real issues. It is a means to turn their attention away from the real issues. The issue of job losses. The issue of business closures. The issue of loss of confidence and hope by many South Australians and, indeed, by many young South Australians.

With unemployment at 8 per cent, we have the highest unemployment in the nation. There are 69,700 South Australians who are unemployed today. That is almost 70,000 people without work who are looking for work. Over 3,000 jobs have been lost in this state since Labor promised 100,000 new jobs back in 2010. Every week there is a new story of job losses: Santos, Leigh Creek, Port Augusta, the list goes on. South Australia’s unemployment rate is careering upwards into double digit levels. This, to me, is the most important issue that we should be debating as a parliament.

Youth unemployment has already doubled and young people are bearing the brunt of the carnage with youth unemployment reaching 15.3 per cent at the moment. There are countless South Australians who are not even looking for employment anymore; they have given up. They have given up looking for work and given up on this government delivering any real outcomes for them. The percentage of South Australians in the workforce has fallen to just 57.3 per cent of the population, the lowest figure since 2003.

Immediate action is needed from this government, not distractions and smoke and mirrors. Stop diverting attention by talking about bike laws and time zone changes and confusing motorists. Let us get on with the business of fixing South Australia and talking about the real issues of today, which are jobs, jobs and jobs.