Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 2736..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
minister because he could have answered my questions. I am not sure how independent this review will be.
While ACT WorkCover is responsible for administering the dangerous substances legislation, it appears that the governance division within the Chief Minister's Department is responsible for the Dangerous Substances Act review as information regarding consultation is on their web page. However, all submissions to the review are to be sent to the Office of Industrial Relations within the Chief Minister's Department. I was under the impression that ACT WorkCover effectively is part of this office. So I am wondering: is it the case that the public servants who administer the legislation have now got the role of reviewer, and would not this compromise a review to some degree? Mr Barr mentioned an independent consultant. I would like further explanation as to the role of that independent consultant in this process.
I also note from the discussion paper that there is a lack of clear terms of reference for the review. I am interested to know if there are any terms of reference. If there are, could someone from government please tell us what they are? If they exist, do they include an analysis of the social and environmental impact of retail fireworks, as required by the original legislation?
People might think this is a rather trivial matter, but every time we watch a large fireworks display these days, those of us who are concerned about climate change—and I think that is all of us—probably wonder what amount of carbon the smoke from the fireworks is putting into the air. These are not trivial matters. If we decide that we will produce carbon emissions here, we have to look at where we can reduce them elsewhere to compensate. Although that may not be the situation now, it soon will be when we really start grappling with this issue.
The discussion paper that the government issued to accompany the consultation process does little to provide adequate discussion of the social and environmental impact of retail fireworks, including climate change impacts, as was required in the review by the original legislation. There is, I note, a table on page 27, which is a very interesting table, which displays statistics for items like the number of fireworks sold, the number of complaints and the number of dog incidents, which have all increased dramatically in the last year from previous years. Unfortunately, however, the discussion paper does not talk about these issues and fails to ask the reader key questions about these impacts.
My final question is: will a copy of this submission or the findings of the review be provided to the Assembly and public before the government takes it away to consider? I would appreciate it if we could be advised on this matter in the Assembly during this debate or as soon as the minister finds it convenient to do so.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.54): I thank members for their contribution to this debate this evening and their support for the motion. This is a vexed question, as people have been saying. I do not want to be a party pooper. I remember quite clearly as a child in England celebrating bonfire night some time in November each year. I can remember the big bonfire and the fireworks. I am sure we could not contemplate doing that in November in Australia.