Page 612 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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I look forward to hearing the findings on 30 September 2022 and will be closely tracking this. While the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this motion today, I note that it is with some scepticism as to how effectively such information will be used for implementing change, given the Labor-Greens government’s appalling service delivery record.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (3.18): With the Attorney-General unable to be here today, I rise to speak firstly on his behalf to Mr Braddock’s motion, and then I will speak as me, in my business and better regulation portfolio.

The government is committed to ensuring the appropriateness and effectiveness of criminal justice measures, including the use of infringement notices to deal with particular offences. Penalties are imposed to achieve a range of purposes. These include deterring behaviour which the Assembly has considered and determined should be made a criminal offence. This is generally because the behaviour is dangerous, such as speeding, or has other adverse impacts on members of the community, such as failing to comply with public health rules or littering. Where the penalty fails to deter behaviour, the imposition of the penalty operates as a sanction for the commission of an offence.

A relevant factor when looking at alternatives is the extent to which those alternatives maintain the integrity of the criminal justice system. The community would generally expect that, if a particular behaviour has been criminalised by the legislature and an appropriate penalty determined, there would be mechanisms in place to follow up on the penalty, where that offence is committed. This is the case where the predominant method for dealing with the offence is issuing an infringement notice, such as for traffic or parking offences, or the offence is one which is prosecuted in a court. The government welcomes Mr Braddock’s interest in exploring these matters further and will be supporting the motion today.

Now I will speak with my usual hat on, as Minister for Business and Better Regulation. The ACT government is committed to supporting a city which is safe, accessible, fair and inclusive, a city that is open and one that is welcoming to all. We are also committed to providing a compliance framework from our regulators which is underpinned by engagement, education and enforcement and which supports a safe and liveable city.

As a key regulatory agency, Access Canberra applies a risk-based and proportionate approach to its regulatory compliance activity, be it the issuing of parking fines or improvement and show cause notices to builders, through to working effectively with local businesses—most recently demonstrated through our COVID-19 response. If a member of our community does happen to be issued with a fine, the ACT government ensures that the recipient has the information they need to make an informed decision on the approach they may choose to take, be it to pay the fine or to seek a review, appeal, withdrawal or flexibility in the way in which the infringement penalty may be paid or managed.

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