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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . .

Page.. 371..


Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Crimes (Fortification Removal) Amendment Bill 2017

Debate resumed from 30 November 2017, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.23): As the party that has been warning against the rise of organised crime in our town and the party that has championed laws to deal with these problems, after warnings have been ignored repeatedly for years, the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. We have proposed for some years now—going back to 2009, certainly since I was proposing it but possibly before—that laws be brought into this jurisdiction to deal with exactly the sort of activity that this bill seeks to prevent. While it certainly is not the complete package required to deal with this growing problem it is an important part of the puzzle, and we will support it.

This is the latest in a series of laws targeted at serious and organised crime. My understanding is that every other jurisdiction has their own version of anti-fortification laws. It is also in part the government's response to their failure to support anti-consorting laws. In short, it addresses quite specific areas of concern, that is, the use of fortifications to thwart police efforts and frustrate legitimate attempts to curtail criminal activity. The explanatory statement provides examples of why this law is needed, and I refer members to the explanatory statement. I will not read it again here but it does outline some examples of the sort of activity including money laundering, extortion and serious assaults that are occurring.

The explanatory statement also explains the purpose, that is, where police can obtain a warrant to enter and search premises for evidence of a crime, fortifications may provide the occupier with time to vacate the premises, to delay police and to destroy evidence. The bill provides the Chief Police Officer with the power to apply to the Magistrates Court for an order that the occupier of a premises remove fortifications on the premises. It also prohibits the establishment of fortifications on certain premises. The bill also contains clauses intended to limit the operation so that it only targets premises that have been fortified for the purposes of preventing police access.

This bill has been circulated to professional stakeholders and we have received comment including from the Law Society. They argued specifically that laws should not be applied except under a court order and its scope should be narrow and targeted where possible. My view is that the legislation does achieve those objectives. Specifically, it requires that the Chief Police Officer must apply to the Magistrates


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