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Speed limited to 130kmh on Stuart Highway

Watching a Porsche 918 Spyder hurtling down the the Stuart Hwy at 300kmh plus will be a thing of the past, with the new Labor Government returning the 300km section of road just north of Alice Springs to a 130kmh zone. The move has received strong support from the Australian Medical Association.
Watching a Porsche 918 Spyder hurtling down the the Stuart Hwy at 300kmh plus will be a thing of the past, with the new Labor Government returning the 300km section of road just north of Alice Springs to a 130kmh zone. The move has received strong support from the Australian Medical Association. Contributed

THE Northern Territory Labor Government will abandon the 300km stretch of open speed limit along the Stuart Hwy.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner, who is also Minister for Transport, said Labor's stance on open speed limits was well known.

"Territorians voted in favour of our policy to remove open limits and we will keep that promise to Territorians,” Chief Minister Gunner said.

"Our policy to remove open limits, which has been in effect since 2007, is based on advice and consultation with doctors, nurses, surgeons and police, who agree that open limits should be removed.”

Open speed limits were first abolished in the NT in 2006 under the Clare Martin led Labor Government.

The Country Liberals then re-introduced open limits on a 200km stretch of the Stuart Hwy starting north of Alice Springs and running through to Barrow Creek on a 12-month trial in 2014.

They extended the de-restricted zone by another 100km in July, what they deemed was the completion of a successful trial period.

The CLP's plan was to implement an open speed zone along a stretch of about 1000km of the Stuart Hwy through to Katherine.

The reopening of the unrestricted section also attracted a number of car makers to Central Australia to test vehicles periodically.

The most notable of those being Porsche, when the German marque unleashed its hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder, on the Stuart Hwy just outside of Alice Springs last year.

After cruising out of the town under the power of its silent electric motors at 60kmh, the full force of the car's 652 kW V8 engine saw it shooting down the highway like a missile to reach a top speed of 350kmh just 40 seconds later.

However, super car testing aside, while the open speed zones were popular with a sector of drivers, research indicated that most who travelled the Stuart Hwy maintained a speed of about 130kmh to 140kmh even along the unrestricted area.

And the Labor Government's decision has received strong support from the Australian Medical Association.

AMA NT president Dr Robert Parker said controlled speed limits were an essential part of an overall road plan.

"Speed is one factor that leads to high levels of road trauma,” Dr Parker said.

He said research indicated that for every person who was killed on a road, 23 more ended up in hospital.

"The AMA have been very open in saying that speed, along with a number of other factors are responsible for road trauma incidents,” Dr Parker said.

"Along with the College of Surgeons and the College of Physicians, we have always been a strong advocate for a road plan in the NT that does have controlled speed limits.”

In other post election news, calling of five close seats will be officially made after today (September 9).

Today is the final day for postal votes to be included in the poll.

And former CLP Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries Gary Higgins will lead the two-seat CLP in Opposition.

His deputy will be Lia Finocchiaro.

Late last week the Speaker of the House, Kezia Purick, allocated the offices of the Opposition on the fourth floor of Parliament House following advice from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and the Solicitor General.

While there are more Independents in the Parliament, advice given to Ms Purick was that the CLP with two members is "numerically” greater than each individual non-party member, or Independent.

If a greater number of Independents join together to form a party or coalition they may then have a claim to opposition status.

Topics:  australian medical association speed limit


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