Legislative Council: Thursday, March 21, 2024


Drug-Driving Laws

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:32): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Attorney-General about drug-driving offences.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: ABC News reported on 13 March that a driver in South Australia instantly lost his driver's licence following a false positive during a roadside drug test. This was followed by a three-month loss of licence despite official follow-up laboratory results revealing that he was not driving under the influence of drugs. The driver's mother was quoted as saying:

The implication of losing his job as a property manager because he can't drive for three months, the stress level is absolutely beyond…

In a comparison with other jurisdictions, the ABC reported that:

Drivers in New South Wales who test positive to an initial mobile drug test will be directed to provide a saliva sample, which if it returns positive, will result in a 24-hour loss of licence, according to the Centre of Road Safety.

In Victoria and Queensland, drivers who return a positive result to an initial test will be required to take a second test which, if positive, will be sent to a laboratory for further analysis…

ACT Policing said drivers can only be charged with a drug driving offence if they test positive on a saliva test analysed in a laboratory.

However, in South Australia officers can issue an immediate loss of licence to a driver…by testing positive to a roadside drug test following laws introduced into that state in February last year…

My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Will the Attorney-General commit to review the fairness of such an offence to ensure that false positive roadside tests will not impact or impose hardship on South Australian drivers?

2. What measures or amendments would the Attorney-General consider to align with other states and territory jurisdictions in only suspending driver's licences upon secondary laboratory tests?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:34): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am happy to report that I know that the Minister for Police, who has responsibility for this, has been looking into this. My understanding is that the disqualification referred to by the honourable member has been cancelled and police are looking at their procedures, as I understand it.