Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 781..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Mr Pratt's amendment does not differentiate between low-risk and high-risk fireworks. There is no reference, for instance, to the amount of pyrotechnic substance in the firework. The penalties he proposes are ridiculously low for high-risk fireworks. Mr Pratt has, in this case, taken the overly simplistic approach to the very complex problems raised for the community in regulating fireworks.
The government is committed to dealing with this problem comprehensively and has released a very detailed draft of proposed regulations for explosives and fireworks. These regulations have taken a comprehensive approach to the problems of controlling the fireworks trade from import, transport, manufacture, storage, supply and use through to disposal. These regulations recognise that the problems this community is experiencing are not only about consumer fireworks and the Queen's Birthday holiday but also much more fundamental. It is within this overall approach that the particular issues of consumer fireworks should be tackled. Mr Pratt fails to recognise this and proposes amendments to the bill that could have the unintended effect of undermining the seriousness of offences in the act as well as the integrity of the overall approach to dealing with fireworks.
If Mr Pratt wants to see consumer fireworks banned, he should raise this matter in relation to the explosive regulations, which is where the details of the fireworks regime are set out in a logical and integrated fashion. This is the appropriate function of subordinate legislation. Regulations are disallowable and subject to the Assembly's scrutiny. Clearly, the government cannot support Mr Pratt's amendment. To do so would undermine the integrity of this act.
MR STEFANIAK (5.03): Since last year, Mr Pratt-indeed the opposition-has been on record in relation to banning the sale of shopgood fireworks, which is what I understand he is seeking to do. That stance has been taken after a lot of consideration. The Standing Committee on Legal Affairs Committee, which I chaired, conducted an inquiry into the supply and safety of fireworks in the first half of 2002, and presented the Assembly with a detailed report by the given date of 30 June 2002. The committee decided to give the industry, despite a lot of objections from a lot of people, one more chance. I don't think that chance really worked; in fact, if anything, the Queen's Birthday weekend was probably one of the worst instances of fireworks being used illegally and of animals being terrified. But it wasn't only that. Since that time, I don't think I've ever heard quite so many loud bangs and bumps from fireworks-they were probably sold illegally; I am not too sure-going off in my suburb of Macgregor and other areas, including around West Belconnen.
I think this rams home that, over the last decade or so, governments of all persuasions have done their best to properly regulate this industry. I think we are the last territory now that still allows the sale of over-the-counter shopgood fireworks to consumers. I don't think any other state or territory-
Ms Gallagher: The Northern Territory.
MR STEFANIAK: We have spoken to Northern Territory officials and they seem to not have quite the same problem; indeed, they might well do it somewhat differently. The Northern Territory still has some problems though, and, from talking to the officials,