State To Add More Speed Cameras To Boost Revenue
Snap Happy by Robyn Ironside ( Headlines The Courier-Mail 29/10/2012)

EXTRA speed cameras would be rolled out across Queensland and operated by civilians instead of police in State Government changes aimed at cutting costs and boosting revenue. The Government is considering outsourcing speed cameras to private operators, replacing police operators with civilian public servants, or shifting the function entirely to another department.

Any change would have to deliver a significant cost-benefit, with the Government seeking to increase its revenue from speed cameras by $28 million in the next year, to $81 million.

It currently costs almost $50 million to operate the cameras, which includes millions of dollars in overtime payments for police to staff the vans. Police Minister Jack Dempsey's spokesman confirmed several options were being examined as part of the joint Transport and Main Roads review.

Queensland is the only state where police man mobile speed cameras, usually outside of their rostered hours. The previous Labor government moved to install civilians in speed camera vans as part of a police enterprise agreement in 2010. But Queensland Police would not agree, insisting the frontline would not be bolstered because the cameras were operated in officers' overtime.

President Ian Leavers said the union had not been consulted about the latest review.

"The LNP Government knows they would be told by police that this is simply a crazy idea that will cause more road deaths due to incorrect com-pliance," Mr Leavers said. "The fig leaf of integrity that is left on the LNP Government's speed camera program would be ripped off once and for all."

He suggested any changes to the operation of speed cameras would increase public cynicism.

"If this plan of privatising and civilianising speed cameras comes to pass, the public will then know once and for all, the LNP Government doesn't care about road safety, just filling their empty coffers and the coffers of the few lucky private contractors who've been lobbying the Government for these contracts," Mr Leavers said.

In NSW, the department of Roads and Maritime Services manages speed cameras; in Victoria UK-owned company Serco does it, and in South Australia and WA, public servants man the vans. Victoria collects nearly $500 million a year in fines from hundreds of mobile cameras and 175 fixed cameras.

But the process has not been without its problems, with contractor Serco facing a significant compensation bill after hundreds of motorists were wrongly billed.

Queensland police will begin negotiations for a new enterprise agreement next year.