Unlike Jackson Hole (previous news item), the climate in Brisbane is fine for all year riding. That's probably going to help boost the death rate.
Interesting that the story mentions single vehicle accidents as leading to the most deaths, and among older riders. Apparently it takes a long time for someone to outgrow being a squid. They don't realize that they don't have the reflexes they once did, methinks.
I lived in Brisbane for almost a year, rode a 600 down there as well. Brisbane has some remote, twisty roads that a lot of riders like to scream down. These are much like the California and Colorado roads, even though they don't have as tall of mountains.
The most important thing to note about the Australian death rate is the restrictions for new riders. You are not allowed to ride a bike larger than 600cc unless you have been riding for more than a year. Also, some of these guys probably know more about stunt riding than the squids in the US. I actually met the stunt rider who did the stunts for Mission Impossible 2. Just like Dan Jackson here in Kansas City, this guy broke his Femor doing something other than stunt riding street bikes.
I think the death rate really boils down to something a lot more simple than most would expect. Since kids these days tend to have a lack of respect for their elders, this bleads off to a general lack of respect. When you don't care about anyone else, you tend to be less concerned with your own actions. Take an adrenaline junkie, show him stunt videos and teach him to not respect others, and things will go downhill quickly. The Aussies tend to be a bit more reserved than people in the US, but maybe this trend is changing and the high death rate is a result.
That's only half the story. Reacting quickly doesn't mean squat if the decision you make is wrong. That's where experience comes in. If you have a guy who isn't as young as he thinks he is who also isn't experienced as he thinks, you've got a recipe for disaster.
The limit in Victoria is 250CC. To "counter" that we have bikes like the CBR250RR which revs to a sweet 19k.
I reckon one of the main reasons would be lack of rider training. You can get an L plate after just a 1 day course on a parking ground; this gets you on the road, with real cars. No advanced rider training is required.
Speaking as a Norwegian who has emigrated to Australia, car licencing is even more of a joke.
I like the looks of the new 600.... it doesn't make my 04 yellow/black version look old, yet it is refreshingly sleek.