Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1066..
MR SESELJA (continuing):
I would also like to make a comment in relation to strict liability offences, which has been a recurring issue for the committee for quite some time now. The committee accepts that for certain regulatory regimes an offence of strict liability is a legitimate tool. However, the committee has always maintained that in all instances the case for making an offence one of strict liability—that is, for relieving the prosecution of the task of proving that the defendant intended to commit the physical elements of the offence—should be clearly spelt out.
An explanation will usually point to the nature of the offence, and in particular that it is one designed to encourage behaviour by those who, by reason of engaging in a particular business or activity, are well placed to do so. That is, the point of the strict liability offence is not to punish the offender, but to induce all those involved in the business to take care in what they do. A justification along these lines must of course be adapted to the particular strict liability offence in issue.
The other matter is the scale of penalty. Where it exceeds 60 penalty points, and in particular where imprisonment is possible, then there is a real issue about whether the law is justifiable. The most appropriate place for justification to appear is in the explanatory statement accompanying the legislation, and while many departments and agencies do provide some reasoning in the explanatory statement, a number persist in not doing so. The Water Resources Bill examined in this report is a case in point.
I commend the report to the Assembly.
Planning and Environment—Standing Committee
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.06): I present the following report:
Planning and Environment—Standing Committee—Report 27—Draft Variation to the Territory Plan No 263: Block 23 Section 117 Kaleen and Minor Amendments to Community Facility Land Use Policies, dated 21 May 2007, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.
That the report be noted.
The proposed variation to territory plan No 263 has two aims, to change the land use policy applicable to block 23 section 117 Kaleen from restricted access recreation to community facility land use policy and to make minor amendments to the community facility land use policy in the territory plan.
The committee often has to consider proposed changes in land use which are opposed by neighbours but which can offer significant and needed benefits to the broader Canberra community, and this is one such case. When deliberating this issue the committee had to take into account consideration of broader issues. In this particular case, aged care and providing the opportunity for the development of an aged care facility in the area is an important factor to consider. The land in question is