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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 325..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

recommendations are implemented. As members, we all need to look at our performance in this area. I can tell you that none of us has been rigorous enough in dealing with these issues. To some degree, that is a result of the workload we have in this place, but this is also our responsibility.

MR STEFANIAK (4.22): I think Mr Hargreaves will find that it was Mr Humphries who was Attorney-General in 1996-he had better check that. Briefly, big steps have been taken. Mandatory reporting was introduced in 1996 and then the current act came into being. Obviously, a lot more needs to be done. I am most concerned to hear that there are still problems with mandatory reporting of occurrences. I have raised here on a number of instances the horrible death of a poor little six-year-old girl and the fact that about eight people could have reported it. They could have done so; mere common sense would tell you that. There have been a couple of other instances recently. One was the case of a little girl who wandered off and drowned while her parents were doped out.

In talking to a representative of the prosecutors' association today, I heard that there are still problems with how the act is administered when matters go to court. There are important issues that need resolving in that regard. I have run out of time, but I wanted to make those points because this is a serious issue. We are protecting young people's lives and these issues desperately need to be taken into account, regardless of the outcome of whatever else we will be doing in relation to these recent reports.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for the discussion has expired

Dangerous Substances Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 11 December 2003, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PRATT (4.23): In speaking to the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, I was very pleased to hear that she is willing to consider adjourning the passage of this bill today. I am pleased that the minister has told me that she too would like to go at least to the in-principle stage and terminate the matter there today.

We know that the Dangerous Substances Bill 2003 aims to protect people, property and the environment from harm. We know that the Labor government believe that new legislation is needed because the current ACT legislation, from 1975, is out of date. We also know that the bill aims to provide national and international harmonisation with similar legislation-namely, the nationally agreed standards for the transport, storage and handling of dangerous substances and explosives.

The Labor government's intentions in tabling this bill are honourable-there is no doubt at all about that. We also believe that there is a place in the community for large chunks of this legislation. I do not agree with all of it, but there are some very good parts of the legislation. However, there are gaps in both the legislation and the consultation process surrounding the legislation that the government has not addressed to the Liberal opposition's satisfaction.

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