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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1853..


MR STANHOPE: Thank you, minister, for the advice that we may never see the $1.7 million. Minister, do you expect to see the $1.7 million returned, or will the government receive a letter of commitment, an IOU, as other creditors have received?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Stanhope, I certainly hope that the government will see the $1.7 million. I certainly hope that this development can go ahead. I think that would be excellent for the ACT. If that is the case, we will get the $1.7 million. Even if, God forbid, that does not happen, I think we have spent $1.7 million very well, and a lot of people are getting benefit from that. Even more will get benefit in the future.

Fireworks

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, are you able to give us a general report on the extent of legal fireworks used in the ACT leading up to, and over, the long weekend? You may not be able to. Could you also report on what efforts have been made by your department and the police, and what success has resulted, to curb the use of illegal fireworks? I would ask that you distinguish between fireworks that are illegal because they were bought or sold without a proper permit and those fireworks that are illegal because they are considered too dangerous to use. I ask that question because I received a letter, as I think some other members did, from a couple in my electorate who had their letterbox blown up, which is not an uncommon occurrence around this time of the year.

MR SMYTH: After three years of attempting to get the industry to be responsible, we have had a large number of reports of the sale of illegal fireworks. Several people have approached me, and I have received numerous letters, as I assume other members have, about banning fireworks.

There are two sorts of legal fireworks. There are the display fireworks which can be used by pyrotechnicians with a permit at any time of the year. There are shopgoods fireworks which can be sold for the two weeks leading up to the Queen's Birthday, for use only on the Queen's Birthday weekend. Then there are illegal fireworks that do not meet the definition of a firework under the act.

We have attempted to enable people to use their fireworks safely on the Queen's Birthday long weekend. However, the department is still working on a report, Mr Osborne, and I hope to have that quite quickly. But the initial grab is that there were some bonfires that got out of control. Three premises were licensed to sell classified shopgoods fireworks throughout the season, but we have reports of up to six premises allegedly selling fireworks without a 2001 licence. ACT WorkCover has referred three cases to the Fair Trading Commissioner in relation to possible false and misleading advertising.

At the same time, an enormous number of complaints have been made to the RSPCA about animals that were disturbed by the fireworks season. Once I can get all that information confirmed and gathered, I will be happy to provide the member with more information.


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