Page 574 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

The bill’s primary objective is to modernise our legislative framework by strengthening the controls on the safe use and ownership of radiation sources, improving licensing and registration processes, and aligning regulatory controls with other jurisdictions. The bill will also provide greater regulatory transparency and improve business and government efficiencies, radiation safety controls and stakeholder relations.

The bill includes provisions to enhance existing offences regarding dealings with registered radiation sources and realigning responsibility for licensing and disciplinary decisions from an external body, the ACT Radiation Council, to the ACT Chief Health Officer. In doing this, the bill reformulates the Radiation Council as the Radiation Advisory Committee, to advise the Chief Health Officer on radiation safety matters and matters relating to radiation, including reviewing applications for a licence or source registration. These proposed governance arrangements are consistent with most other Australian jurisdictions.

To provide greater certainty for businesses and research institutions seeking to deal with ionising radiation in the ACT, the bill clarifies requirements around the submission and content of radiation management plans and the appointment of radiation safety officers. The bill outlines the rules on acceptable radiation management plans, including approval and use of service providers and user obligations for the storage, security, shielding, disposal and safe operation of a radiation device. The requirement to appoint a radiation safety officer aims to facilitate timely identification, reporting and remediation of any radiation safety risk, as well as to promote voluntary compliance with the act. The appointment of radiation safety officers is commonplace in radiation protection legislation in other jurisdictions and it acts as an important safety measure.

To strengthen the act, the bill provides for the inclusion of new offences, with the aim of improving controls on the safe use and ownership of radiation sources. The bill introduces new improvement notices and prohibition notices with related offences, which a licensee or registered owner of a regulated radiation source must then comply with, to expand the Chief Health Officer’s legislative options in the management and control of potential health and safety issues. Other offences introduced by the bill relate to the failure of a licensee or registered owner to notify the Chief Health Officer of updated contact details, disposal of a registered radiation source and the unauthorised dealing with an unregistered radiation source.

As regulated radiation sources can cause long-lasting and significant damage to business as well as human and environmental health if used, stored or managed inappropriately, the bill provides a further offence for the reckless or deliberate misuse of protected information. Under the act, a person who deals with a regulated radiation source must take all reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that there is no resulting harm to the health or safety of persons, property or the environment. The inclusion of new offences and enforcement tools aims to encourage compliance with the Radiation Protection Act and further protect public health and safety from the harmful effects of radiation.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video