Motor Vehicles (Motor Bike Driver Licensing) Amendment Bill

16 Feb 2021

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 4 February 2021.)

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (11:30): I rise to make a short contribution on behalf of my electorate, the electorate of Stuart. There is no member of this house who would not feel anywhere from disappointed through to sick to the stomach, let alone if they were connected to one of the people who had lost their lives, about what we are seeing on our roads. It is just tragic. Our government needs to act to try to keep young people, particularly young males, safe on the roads while riding motorbikes.

There is no debate, certainly from this side of the chamber, about the fact that, through the Minister for Police and road safety, we need to take some action. Having outlined that as my view very clearly, I would say that as a country and outback MP limitations on the responsible use of motorbikes do not sit too comfortably with me. So I am very pleased that the minister has found a way to retain greater flexibility for young people in country and outback areas with regard to the use of motorbikes, when and where they can be used and what they can be used for, and also with regard to the age of accessing licences.

I want to go into that briefly because, while on one level the words in this bill that hopefully will form the new legislation are quite clear about training and work activities and educational activities, I want to be very clear that in the discussions I have had—and I have had very clear commitments from my colleagues—it does not necessarily have to be paid work that this flexibility would be applied to.

The reality is that in country and outback areas it is very normal for a young person to use a motorbike responsibly for work on their own family farm or perhaps to travel on the road between paddocks or different sections of their own family farm. That would not strictly classify as employment because usually those young people are not getting paid for that work; it is just part of the work they do as a member of the family in the family business. To be sure that people in my electorate and other places who might be affected by this understand, those types of activities would be covered by the additional flexibility provided in this bill.

Another important feature is that it is very normal and quite appropriate for family members to help each other out. One family farm might be mustering, getting ready for shearing, crutching or sales and members of another family might help them with that activity. Then, on another occasion at another part of the year, the first family helps the second family get their work done. Again, that is not paid employment in the strict sense of the word, but it is work done by young people supporting their family business and often supporting their family business by supporting another family that supports their family business. Those types of things will be dealt with in a very sensible, very pragmatic way so that young people can use the additional flexibility provided to them in country and outback areas in appropriate and sensible ways.

If a young person is using their motorbike in an inappropriate way or outside those clear guidelines and also outside the more practical approach to those guidelines I have just mentioned, that is a different matter entirely. I am only talking about things that are within the intent of this bill and hopefully soon within the intent of this legislation—that young people will be able to do all the things that, in a practical sense, they do in the country with regard to using a motorbike for education, training or work.