It should be obvious to us car lovers in QLD that QLD transport would much prefer it if we all just packed up and moved to another state. While fear campaigns fail trying to bring the road toll below 300, genuine car enthusiasts looking to have some fun on the track are being shut down and forced back on the road.
Brisbane-based company Safe Drive Training (SDT) is the pioneer of drift training in Australia, having recently launched their overseas drift school in Japan, SDT currently runs schools in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and India, yet they are not allowed to run a school in their home town of Brisbane.
SDT had conducted a drifting school at the Government-owned Mt Cotton Driver Training Centre before Transport Minister Paul Lucas put a stop to it.
"There is a definite need for more facilities in south-east Queensland, we are currently not offering something but talking to the people at Lakeside (International Raceway in northern Brisbane) and other land owners to establish a skidpan in the greater Brisbane area." Safe Drive Training managing director Joel Neilsen
A few months ago I attended the Large Vehicle Maneuvering Area (LVMA) at Mt Cotton Driver Training centre to not only improve my driving skills in the wet and dry, but also (lets be realistic) to have some fun in a safe environment.
Arriving at 9am and waiting for the event to begin was perhaps the most exciting part of the whole day. Don't get me wrong it was meant to be a good day with excited first timers (like myself) and experienced drivers all keen to participate, learn a few things and have some fun. That is all before the Nazi Noise Police showed up.
You would think that being at a Driver Training centre, the idea is simple, you are there to learn new skills and improve your driving ability whilst also putting in the effort (and paying money) to practice on a safe environment as oppose to breaking the law and performing the maneuvers on public roads and putting lives in danger.
Nonetheless, the noise police were more concerned about cars breaking the 90dB noise barrier than anything else. Not only was the testing conducted incorrectly (testing was conducted whilst other cars were on the track resulting in massive background noise) but given the relative remoteness of the area, the noise limit seemed a little irrelevant.
Either way more than half of the cars were told to go home (without a refund) as they did not meet the noise limit barrier, the whole event was stopped for a good 2 hours whilst these tests were conducted and the whole day turned into one big mess (although as you can see from the picture below, before the noise police showed up, we had some fun)
Of course QLD transport argues that residents living around the training centre complain about the excessive noise. Now I ask you Mr Lucas, what scenario would you rather prefer?
- Driver training is conducted on public roads by disgruntled enthusiast late at night endangering the public.
- Driver training is conducted in a safe environment by responsible enthusiasts wishing to have some fun, safely.
You have to remember that the Mt Cotton Driver training centre has been there long before the residents moved in around the area, and as the name suggests, it has one purpose, driver training.
Whilst we push for more alternative approaches in reducing the road toll, the QLD government simply goes the opposite way to block all possible means for Car enthusiasts to enjoy their cars on government owned property.
Shame on you QLD transport. When will someone in power wake up and realise that the current fear and "speed kills" mentality has not and will not reduce the road toll, we are no longer blind, revenue raising is not a safety initiative.