Can speed cameras save free Gong Shuttle?

The northbound speed camera on the M1 Princes Motorway at Gwynneville rakes in almost $2 million a year in fines. Some of that could go to keeping the Gong Shuttle free, according to two Illawarra MPs. Picture: Robert Peet
The northbound speed camera on the M1 Princes Motorway at Gwynneville rakes in almost $2 million a year in fines. Some of that could go to keeping the Gong Shuttle free, according to two Illawarra MPs. Picture: Robert Peet

Two Illawarra MPs are hoping speed camera revenue could help keep the Gong Shuttle free.

But a spokesman for Roads Minister Melinda Pavey has already rejected the idea.

In January the NSW government will charge fares on the shuttle, which will save it $750,000.

Keira MP Ryan Park and Wollongong MP Paul Scully have written to Ms Pavey requesting a meeting to discuss using speed camera revenue to make up that shortfall.

Their letter states the Gong Shuttle route passes by two cameras – the M1 motorway northbound and the Gladstone Avenue intersection.

In the last financial year, those cameras brought in nearly $2.5 million which, like all camera revenue, went into the Road Safety Fund.

The letter also suggests the shuttle is used by people as a Plan B to avoid drink driving.

“Millions of dollars are collected in speed camera revenue from this government that is meant to go directly into funding road safety initiatives,” Mr Park said

.

“Well, the free Gong Shuttle is one of the best road safety initiatives because it encourages people to catch the bus and leave the car at home and avoid drink driving.”

Mr Scully said the government needed to look beyond the Transport for NSW portfolio to fund the Gong Shuttle service.

Ms Pavey said the money in the Road Safety Fund would continue to be spent “solely on road safety initiatives”.

“It is extraordinary that Labor Party would call for money specifically set aside for road safety campaigns to be used for any other purpose,” the spokesman said.

“They are advocating raiding the road safety fund for the benefit of one group of people at the expense of the rest of the state.”