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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (3 August) . . Page.. 3369..

MR WOOD (continuing):

of commercial, industrial or business premises to fail to take reasonable steps to prevent litter from the premises being deposited in or on a public place. The maximum penalty is 50 penalty points, and it is a strict liability offence.

This amendment has the effect of replicating in the new Litter Bill section 5 of the current act. When the act was reviewed it had initially been considered that some of the new provisions would ensure a comprehensive scheme to address the various circumstances in which littering occurs and the retention of section 5 of the act would not be necessary. However, on further consideration of this matter the government is satisfied that the provisions of section 5 of the current act should be retained as they provide a useful enforcement tool by placing a positive onus on occupiers of commercial, industrial and business premises to take reasonable steps to prevent the deposit of litter. For this reason the new clause will reinstate the provisions of section 5 of the act in the bill.

MS TUCKER (5.18): I want to make a comment on this section. There are two sections where there are strict liability offences with imprisonment. The scrutiny committee, in scrutiny report 38, noted that there is a rights objection to such provisions. This does not fit within the basic principle that the Senate committee signed off on the use of strict liability; that is, you should not be sent to prison without the opportunity to explain or defend your actions. I can see that this is going to be supported but I want to put on the record my position on strict liability offences having imprisonment penalties.

MS DUNDAS (5.19): On the face of it, this amendment is quite reasonable in taking reasonable steps to prevent litter from the premises actually being deposited at public places, and that is something that we can support. But we also have the concerns of Ms Tucker as we have had in almost every situation over the last 12 months where we have discussed strict liability offences. There needs to be, I guess, greater care by the government in how they are using these offences and how they are actually implementing absolute and strict liability offences, especially in relation to that Senate report. It is disappointing to see it back in use.

MR CORNWELL (5.20): The opposition will be supporting the government.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage and Acting Minister for Health) (5.20): Mr Speaker, I note what Ms Tucker says about strict liability offences. I think I've heard her say that before in other circumstances. We understand it; it's a stronger means. If you read the response I provided to Mr Stefaniak and the scrutiny committee you will see a reiteration of the argument that the government uses at various times about this matter, which we treat carefully and, I think in this circumstance again, appropriately.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 11 to 13, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

New clauses 13A to 13E.

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