Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3124..
MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):
Anecdotal evidence I have gathered from police is that no other law has been so effective in putting a stop to a problem than the police powers to seize cars. The bulk of the hoodlum behaviour ceased when these laws came into effect. The prospect of losing a vehicle was a deterrent. When police pulled over a vehicle for a traffic offence, regularly the offender's first words would be something like: "It was not a burnout," because they knew quite clearly what the consequences could be.
But in recent times the ball game has taken a sudden turn for the worse. The rules have changed and the word has spread fast that it is much more difficult to lose a vehicle. The word is out that the police can no longer take vehicles, and the door is open for car hoons to wreak havoc again. The most critical element of the laws has been ripped out, and the community has already started to pay the price, with the hoons treating the law with contempt. The situation can only get worse, particularly at Summernats time, when motorists visit from places like New South Wales, where the police can confiscate cars for dangerous burnouts.
It is clear that the AFP did carefully and astutely implement the ability to seize cars when the powers were put in place. It has to be remembered that confiscating cars was not mandatory for burnout offences. There was a range of options, including traffic infringement notices. The fines that are tied to these notices are substantially lower than the maximum penalties. The confiscations were for the most serious and extremely dangerous circumstances. As far as I am aware, the action was certainly deserved in each case, and this highlights how these laws can be effectively used to curb this type of behaviour.
Overall, the burnout laws were greeted favourably by the majority of the community. The responses I received were extremely positive and supportive of cleaning up driving behaviour in the suburbs. Police have utilised the range of enforcement options available to them, from caution to impoundment. There was not a spate of confiscations, only in the most serious cases which warranted such action. But the penalties that were in place served as a deterrent. Families who are constantly annoyed and threatened by this type of driving knew the police had the ability to do something about it.
Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Liquor Amendment Bill 2001
Mr Rugendyke , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR RUGENDYKE (10.56): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this is a bill to amend the Liquor Act 1975. Currently section 159 of the Liquor Act 1975 creates a rebuttable presumption that the contents of a container which purports to contain liquor are liquor. The presumption stands unless the defendant