Transport Legislation Amendment (Hoon Boating and Other Amendments) Bill

Posted on 26. Nov, 2009 in Speeches

Summer is a great time of the year. Australians love the long days in January, and many enjoy a relaxing day on the beach and a refreshing dip in a swimming pool or at the beach — and then the calm is broken by a hoon on a jet ski.

These hoons are the first cousins of hoon drivers, and I have had reason on numerous occasions in the past to speak about hoon drivers. They do not respect the rights of their fellow citizens to enjoy the passive recreation of our beaches.

But more seriously, by not respecting speed limits and minimum operating distances from swimming areas, they imperil the life and limb of swimmers who stand very little chance of getting out of harm’s way of a jet ski which is bearing down on them.

I welcome this bill which applies the hoon driver legislative model to hoons on water. I am aware of the sensitivities of some in the boating industry or the personal watercraft (PWC) — the technical name for jet skis — industry. They are obviously concerned at people in the industry being labelled as hoons. In reply to that I say it no more follows that all operators are hoons than it follows that all motorists are hoon drivers. It is just that a very nasty and irresponsible minority deserve to have their craft impounded in the same way as such motorists do.

During this summer this bill will allow police and other authorised officers to suspend use of a vessel for 48 hours, up to three months for second and third offences, and it allows for forfeiture for subsequent offences; and from September 2011, vessels will be able to be impounded.

I am confident your average hoon does not read Hansard. I doubt very much whether they read newspapers. So I think it will probably take the first report on FM radio of the suspension of use of a vessel for the message to start to get across and, knowing the intelligence of hoons, I am sure suspensions will be imposed before next summer is over.

This is an area of community safety where the Parliament needs to act firmly to protect the community and where the collective safety outweighs the needs of a few selfish individuals. I look forward to this bill being in operation this summer so that we may have a quieter and safer time on our great Aussie beaches.

I commend the bill to the house.

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