Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1569 ..
Act of 1991. As we said before, we have taken all the animal diseases provisions out of these pieces of legislation and put them into the Animal Diseases Bill just passed.
It is, generally speaking, a brushing up and a bringing up to date, and again it deals with important issues. As I have said, the bill includes parts of the old Pounds Act 1928 and makes considerable changes to the measures for impounding stock which, generally speaking, are welcome. It allows a land-holder to impound stock that has trespassed onto its land and to have the chief executive arrange for the sale of impounded stock.
It also means that the chief executive—and this is a considerable innovation which makes it much easier for people to impound wandering stock—is responsible for impounding uncontrolled stock on unleased land, on a road verge or on a road. The chief executive may also make decisions about the destruction or disposal of stock in ways that he thinks appropriate. I had concerns with the provisions that the territory obtains the proceeds of sale of unidentified stock even if they are impounded on leased land but, after consultation with parliamentary counsel, I think my concerns in that regard have been overcome.
The bill also provides for more a flexible permit system for travelling stock to assist in managing disease issues. The bill also allows for the recognition of interstate permits, with appropriate checks. This will make it easier particularly for ACT graziers, who obtain most of their stock from interstate. I had some issues about stock permits but I have been assured that, if someone asks for a permit to move stock, they are basically issued on request.
The thing that I thought was a bit quirky was that, if I want to move a lot of stock, I can apply for a book full of stock permits. I have an open mind on this but I am not quite sure whether that provides any security to the proper handling of stock. If I have a book of stock movement permits, what is to stop me dumping a few cattle on the side? I have a permit for them because someone will have issued me with a book of them. I am not proposing to do anything about that at the moment but I think it is something that needs to be watched. Perhaps the book should not be too large in size and there should not be too many permits issued to the one person at a time. That is just a matter of caution.
As with the Animal Diseases Bill, there are issues in relation to strict liability offences which are of concern. As I have said before, I do not have a problem with the offences; I have a problem about the lack of requirement to prove that someone intended to do something wrong.
This is, I think, a considerable departure—an increasing departure—in ACT legislation, which I think we need to be wary of. I suppose I will continue to say this. We need to be wary of that. I think we should be grateful to the scrutiny of bills committee because of the thoughtful approach they have taken on this over a number of years. They have been very thoughtful on the issue of strict liability offences.
I think we have now broken with the process whereby we had offences that had jail terms that were made strict liability offences. I recall in the last Assembly amending out some jail terms that were strict liability offences. I do not have a problem with people being taken to trial because something is serious, but I think it is important that we do it in an appropriate way that looks to the conventions of our legal system.