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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3633 ..


in the context of administrative decision making. The scrutiny of bills committee noted the fact that, under proposed new section 52A of the bill, the registrar can revoke a licensee’s licence on the grounds of public safety, but the registrar is not obliged to afford the licensee an opportunity to be heard on the matter of the suspension. The scrutiny of bills committee says that this suggests that the scheme is not fair.

I believe that it would be useful to articulate the right to be heard of a licensee whose licence is suspended. Submissions from a licensee need to be part of the decision-making process. While it may be normal practice for the registrar to consider information from various sources in making their decision to revoke a licence suspension, including representations from the affected licensee, it is better to have this articulated in the legislation. That is why the scrutiny of bills committee, with reference to the Human Rights Act, raises this as an issue.

Including this right explicitly will do no harm to the scheme. It will clarify the process and it will operate as a safeguard. The amendment I am proposing will clarify that the registrar must give a licensee the opportunity to respond and make submissions if the registrar is suspending their licence. These submissions must be taken into account in the decision making process.

The amendment also clarifies that when a registrar notifies a licensee that their licence will be suspended, they must also be told that they have an opportunity to make submissions. What this does is clarify that there is a proper internal review process. This is especially important in a situation where the decision is not a reviewable decision that can go to ACAT. The amendment I am proposing also applies to suspension decisions, not just public safety suspensions under section 52A. My amendment will make the bill clearer and articulate a person’s rights in the text of the bill rather than relying on the executive to continue to afford these rights.

I also note briefly that the scrutiny committee also raised the issue of section 52A not being a reviewable decision under the act. I note that reviewable decisions under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act are listed in the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Regulation 2004 and that a number of discretionary decisions made by the registrar are also reviewable.

I am satisfied, however, that suspensions under section 52A are three months at the maximum and that longer term suspensions will also go to ACAT to be heard. A decision not to revoke a suspension is also a reviewable decision. I therefore do not think it will necessarily improve things to make the original section 52A decision a reviewable decision, especially as the time involved is only three months. It is important, however, that members support my amendment to clarify the internal review process. I seek support for this amendment.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (11.50): The government will support this amendment with a further minor amendment, since a suspension on public safety grounds is a discretionary decision rather than a defined event such as loss of insurance or other automatic suspension


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