Page 488 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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to do whatever we can to deal with the scourge of child sexual abuse. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this legislation.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.22): As you may be aware, my colleague Mr Andrew Braddock, who serves as the ACT Greens spokesperson on police and emergency services, is absent from the chamber today. So I rise to assure the chamber that the ACT Greens support the proposed legislation, the Crimes (Policing) Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. In particular, I would like to place on record our thanks to the justice and community safety legislative scrutiny committee that did an awful lot of work to analyse the bill.

Obviously, we trust that this has gone through the appropriate cabinet processes, led by the minister. Three of my colleagues have taken part in those conversations, so we are pleased to support the legislation.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.23), in reply: I am pleased to close debate on this important bill, and I thank members for their contribution to the debate. I am always very happy to bring some more excitement to Mr Hanson’s parliamentary time! The Crimes (Policing) Amendment Bill 2021 continues the government’s work to improve the efficient functioning of the ACT justice system and to enhance community safety. The bill supports effective law enforcement by making amendments to the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act; the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Regulation; the Firearms Act and the Firearms Regulation.

The amendments under the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act seek to promote higher levels of compliance with reporting obligations which apply to child sex offenders. The amendments strengthen the enforcement measures by ensuring that offenders are held to account when they fail to comply with those obligations. Amendments to the Firearms Act will improve community safety by permanently enshrining an amnesty for voluntarily surrendered firearms. The amendments will also empower the firearms registrar to destroy or dispose of those firearms without needing a court order. Amendments to firearms legislation will also make the security storage requirements stricter for security companies licensed to hold category H firearms.

Amendments to the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act to strengthen enforcement mechanisms will support the capacity of ACT Policing to protect the lives and safety of children. A risk to community safety, particularly the safety of children, is posed by registrable offenders who, despite being aware of their obligations, fail to report to ACT Policing as required. The amendments to the reporting provisions will have the effect that child sex offenders will no longer be able to avoid being found guilty of failing to report merely based on the excuse of forgetting to report.

The offence has been reframed in a human rights consistent manner, including by providing that child sex offenders who fail to comply with their reporting obligations may be acquitted if they can demonstrate that there was a reasonable excuse for their failure to report. The bill provides criteria the court must consider in determining

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