Lights, camera, dollar$



MEET the Tweed's hardest-working public servant - he never takes a day off, works rain, hail or shine and earns $1.2 million each year, every year.

Figures confirmed by the Roads and Traffic Authority yesterday show the Sexton Hill speed camera at Banora Point is the 11th highest earning speed camera in NSW.

Located at the foot of the notorious black spot, it raises more money than any other camera in NSW outside of Sydney.

Shadow Roads Minister Don Page has slammed the location of the camera, saying it is more about raising revenue than preventing accidents, and he has called for a state-wide audit of camera locations.

But a spokesman for NSW Roads minister Carl Scully has rejected the claims, saying there had been plenty of consultation with police and the RTA over its location.

"Every one of the speed cameras in NSW is based on road safety," he said.

"Yours is in an accident black spot in a section of road with a crash history that involved speed as a contributing factor.

However, Mr Page claims cameras have done little to reduce the road toll in NSW compared to other road initiatives such as seatbelt laws and random breath tests.

"In many instances the cameras are not located in the best possible position from a safety perspective," he said.

"I would say this (Sexton Hill camera) fits this category as it should be over the top of the hill.

Mr Page accused the RTA of pursuing profits over safety when they first consulted on the location of the camera.

"The RTA have the final say and not the police. Quite often they are not agreed on location. The police look at safety and the RTA look at other issues," he said.

With thousands of people being caught by the camera each year, Mr Page suggested its location had reduced its credibility.

"The correct place of a camera is at the site of an accident, otherwise it questions credibility," he said.

Mr Scully's spokesman said an independent report last year showed a considerable reduction in serious injury crashes and fatals where cameras were installed.

He said the RTA did not receive the funds from the cameras and had "no interest in the revenue coming out - just in slowing people down past the cameras".

A Tweed highway patrol spokesperson confirmed the speed camera had reduced the number of serious crashes on Sexton Hill, but was not able to supply specific figures.

Tweed MP Neville Newell could not be reached for comment as he was in State Parliament.

n What do you think? Is the camera in the right spot? Email your views to letters@tweednews.com.au or fax to (07) 5524 6222. We'll publish the best responses.



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