NSW reconsiders speed camera sign policy

The NSW government's decision to remove speed camera warning signs proved unpopular.
The NSW government's decision to remove speed camera warning signs proved unpopular.

The NSW government is poised to announce a reversal of its decision to remove signs warning drivers about mobile speed cameras.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has asked Roads Minister Rob Stokes to look into the controversial decision.

"I had concerns that there was a greater focus on revenue raising where there shouldn't be," Mr Perrottet told reporters on Wednesday.

"There needs to be a focus, first and foremost, on road safety. We've been looking at and reflecting on the current policy and we'll be announcing some changes shortly."

The issue came to a head earlier this week when former coalition roads minister Duncan Gay told a parliamentary inquiry that removing the signs equated to entrapment.

"One of the best safety (incentives) is a marked police car with a copper in it" and signposting cameras had a similar effect, Mr Gay said.

Earlier on Wednesday Mr Stokes hinted the government was poised to dump the strategy.

"Someone like Duncan Gay has a huge amount of experience and so we are listening very much to what the community is saying," he told 2GB radio.

Former transport and roads minister Andrew Constance announced a year ago warning signs for mobile speed cameras would be removed but in August said fixed warning signs would be rolled out as a reminder to drivers they can be caught anywhere at any time.

The partial backtrack came after a surge in the number of people being fined for going less than 10km/h over the limit.

Opposition leader Chris Minns said $4.5 million from more than 27,000 fines was collected September alone, a record and more collected for the entirety of 2020.

"The statistics are incredibly damning," he said.

"We would much prefer people not commit the offence in the first place."

The NRMA is also opposed to the policy, with spokesman Peter Khoury saying it was well intentioned but hadn't worked.

The speed cameras go in the most dangerous places and when signposted remind drivers to slow down, he said.

"There has to be a better way to get people to change their behaviour behind the wheel."

But the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says reversing the decision would be a step backward for road safety.

"Populist appeal and politics is threatening a proven road safety measure, which NSW had only recently introduced, following years of leadership by most other jurisdictions in Australia," chair of the National Trauma Committee Dr John Crozier said.

"Acting on fake news claiming the primacy of the measure as a revenue raiser will result in preventable death and serious injuries on our roads."

Australian Associated Press