THE Northern Territory now has 300-kilometers of unrestricted highway speed-limits after the government approved new changes overnight.
A further 60-kilometre stretch of the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs will be free of speed limits, allowing those behind the wheel to drive to the conditions.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles says there have been upgrades to the condition of the highway to compliment the speed limit changes.
“Pretty much between Alice Springs and Ali Curung now you will be able to see open speed limits,” he said.
“Not only are we widening and strengthening the road we’re improving things such as righting the dips in the roads and putting better signage on the roads and that’s [making it] safer for all drivers.”
The upgrades took five months to complete at a cost of $3.1million.
The Northern Territory government plans to extend open speed limits further – pending more upgrades – and intends to have unrestricted highway as far as Katherine.
This is the third time the unrestricted section has been extended since it was re-introduced in 2014 as a trial.
Harold Scruby, chief executive officer of the taxpayer-funded Pedestrian Council of Australia, has been an outspoken advocate against unrestricted speed limits in the Northern Territory, calling those behind the decision to lift limits “rednecks”.
When talking to Scruby regarding his complaint against Bentley’s now banned film which showed a Bentley Continental GT Speed clocking 330km/h on a closed stretch of the Stuart Highway, Wheels asked if he thought his views represented the majority of Australians.
“I am not sure exactly what percentage of the population the Northern Territory represents, but there are 25-million people in Australia,” he replied.
“I think there are between 200,000 and 300,000 in the Northern Territory*.”
“It is the only state or territory where the speed limit is over 110km/h. Isn’t that a fair reflection?
“If we elect our governments democratically, and if they decided that the maximum speed limit in Australia should be 110km/h, then the great minority, the very, very small minority of Australians agree with [unrestricted sections of highway].
“There is no other jurisdiction in Australia where you can go over 110km/h
“That means out of [a population of] 25 million, 24,800,000 people live in democracies where they have agreed that the speed limit shouldn’t be higher than 110km/h.”
Wheels asked Mr Scruby if he agreed that the contention that travelling at unrestricted speeds could be safe with the proper precautions in place, such a professionally-accredited driver at the wheel and on a closed road. In response, he reiterated his belief that speeds in excess of those legally allowed on most Australian highways are lethally dangerous – regardless of the circumstances.
“Why do you think that every state and territory other than these rednecks in the Northern Territory have decreed that the maximum speed should be 110km/h? Why do you think that?”
*The population of the Northern Territory is recorded at 243,700 as of 2014 (Source: ABS).