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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 1914..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

identified an anomaly in the provisions of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, the act, following a specific incident last year where a person was apprehended and a vehicle seized.

By way of explanation, division 2.3 of the act provides for the seizure, impounding and forfeiture of vehicles for certain offences. These offences are races, attempts on speed records, speed trials, burnouts and other prohibited conduct, including menacing driving. Section 10C of the act provides that a police officer may seize a vehicle if the officer believes that the vehicle is being or has been used by a person in committing a relevant offence.

Section 10B of the act provides that, if the court convicts a person or finds them guilty of a relevant offence, then for a first offender the vehicle is impounded for a maximum of three months, unless the court otherwise orders. Any period the vehicle has been seized and impounded by police is deducted from the three-month period applicable to a first offender.

Section 10D currently provides that the chief police officer must keep the vehicle until the earliest of the following happens: the person is dealt with by a court for the offence, an infringement notice is served on the alleged offender, or if a prosecution to the offence is not started within 28 days this period has elapsed.

However, the existing provisions of the act do not envisage the circumstances where matters could take longer than three months to be finalised by the court. Accordingly, the bill amends section 10E (1) of the act to also enable the chief police officer to release the vehicle three months after the date it was seized in the case of a person who is being brought before the courts as a first offender.

While not a large change, this amendment will ensure the impoundment powers of police do not exceed those of the courts. These acknowledge that there are a number of areas in which the act engages human rights. Some areas, particularly the vehicle seizure and impoundment provisions, may require further consideration by government in terms of compatibility. These provisions will be reviewed as part of a wider human rights audit of the act in due course. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Standing orders-suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent, upon presentation of the Civil Unions Amendment Bill 2006, debate on the question "That this Bill be agreed to in principle"being adjourned until a later hour this day.

Civil Unions Amendment Bill 2006

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

Title read by Clerk.

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