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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5223..


MR WOOD (continuing):

1930, to provide that the infringement notice provisions in part 8 of that act apply to certain offences against the Litter Act. The government will ensure that, when the new provisions come into force, they are properly publicised to maximise their impact on littering behaviour. I am hopeful that the new provisions in the act will promote greater community awareness of the need to reduce littering and I am confident that the enforcement capacity of litter inspectors will be greatly enhanced by these reforms. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Cornwell ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Wood, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (11.25): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2003 amends section 48 of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 to address an anomaly which threatens the capacity to enforce infringement notices issued under the act for offences such as camera-detected speeding and red light offences. Infringement notices for such offences are issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, referred to in the act as the responsible person.

However, the responsible person is able to escape liability if he or she can establish one of the defences set out in the act showing that they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. If the responsible person fails to respond to an infringement notice by either paying the penalty or establishing to the Australian Federal Police that they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, enforcement action may be taken which could result in the suspension of the vehicle's registration or the driving licence of the owner of the vehicle.

Section 48 enables a person whose vehicle registration or licence has been suspended to apply to the Magistrates Court for an order revoking the suspension. However, anomalously, section 48 does not currently require the person challenging the suspension to show they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. The applicant may merely assert one of the defences in the act to suggest they were not driving the car at the time, and the onus is on the authority to prove otherwise. In practice this is virtually impossible for the authority to do and is directly at odds with the principles on which the infringement notice scheme is built. Left uncorrected this has the potential to undermine the effectiveness of the entire infringement notice scheme for offences involving vehicles.

The bill provides that the court may only make an order revoking a suspension if the applicant is able to establish one of the defences in the act to show that he or she was not driving the car at the time of the offence-for example, by establishing that the vehicle


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