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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2530..


MR BERRY (continuing):

Governments and legislators who have a social conscience about the future of workers, workers who are indeed our future, ought to be extending to them as many conditions as they possibly can to make their lives more secure and more enjoyable. The amendment bill I introduce today seeks to provide that for casual workers.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Magistrates Court Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Rugendyke , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill amends the Magistrates Court Act 1930. It inserts new provisions allowing police the discretion of issuing infringement notices for certain minor offences in the Crimes Act 1900. The bill does not alter the existing maximum penalties but rather provides police with an additional option when dealing with offences relating to minor theft, destroying or damaging property, defacing premises, offensive behaviour and indecent exposure.

The aim of the bill is to provide police with another tool in the tool bag, so that law enforcement officers have the discretion to apply a consequence for offences at the lower end of the scale. For example, it has been brought to my attention that shoplifting has been a problem caused by suspected repeat offenders at a supermarket in the City Markets. A case of an adult offender being caught taking something like a chocolate bar is not considered serious enough to refer to court through a summons or VATAC, but rather than doing nothing, issuing an infringement notice is a satisfactory method of ensuring that there can be a consequence for such minor offences.

It should be noted that this bill amends the infringement notice provisions that the Fair Trading Legislation Amendment Bill 2001 seeks to insert into the Magistrates Court Act. Although this proposal is to piggyback the infringement notice provisions in the fair trading bill, I have elected to table these amendments in a separate bill because they link offences from the unrelated Crimes Act 1900. It is appropriate and fair that members assess these measures in their own right.

This results in only one subtle change to the requirements for information on infringement notices and reminder notices. The advice on the notices would be required to make it clear that if a non-payment of the penalty were to result in prosecution the court could impose more than just a monetary penalty for offences for which the court has the discretion to apply other penalty options.

Mr Speaker, this is a straightforward bill that would certainly assist police on the beat in maintaining order at scenes of minor offences. This bill was part of a package of bills I submitted for drafting earlier in the year to our hardworking team of parliamentary counsel. As members are aware, their resources have been stretched. There is more to


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