Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4098 ..
of suburbs in my electorate and your electorate, Madam Deputy Speaker. I think it is very unfortunate that we get to this stage 2½ years down the track through this consultation process.
To this day, representatives of small venues have not been able to meet with the minister and express their concerns. I am concerned also that the consultation over the draft regulations has not been as open as it could be. There has been a consultation period which has been closed since 6 August, and to this day the comments from those people who were consulted, who made comments on the regulations, are not available for public scrutiny.
At the weekend one member of the public who had made comment said to me that he was deeply distressed and disillusioned by the public consultation process. He thought that his comments would have been at least acknowledged and read. I do not have an opportunity to do that because the minister and the department will not put them up on the webpage and there has been no satisfactory explanation as to why.
All in all, Madam Assistant Speaker, this is a very disappointing day for Mr Corbell. Mr Corbell has had a very long opportunity. He made this an election issue in the run-up to the 2008 election—that he was going to play hell with a stick; there was going to be reform after reform. There is so much that is missing from this. Look at the submission from the Australian Federal Police Association where they specifically ask the minister to put in extra penalties that would go towards encouraging the responsible consumption of alcohol.
As things currently stand in the ACT, if a young person, or an old person, goes out on Saturday night and gets really, really, really drunk, what happens is that he is taken to the watch-house or to the drying-out facility. He is given a warm bed; he is tucked up in bed. In the morning when he wakes up he is given breakfast and he is given a cab ride home. He pays nothing for that. There is no fine. There is no charge.
The Australian Federal Police Association and policemen on the beat tell me that that is the single biggest reform that they want, because many people think, “It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to have a plan to get home because, if the worse comes to the worst, I’ll go to the drying out facility and I’ll sleep it off. Then I’ll get a taxi ride home after I’ve had bacon and eggs for breakfast.” This does not encourage the responsible consumption of alcohol. This minister has failed in many ways in his reform. That is why the Canberra Liberals are opposing this bill today.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.01): The Greens will be supporting this Liquor Bill today. The ACT government started work on this reform back in February 2008, so it has now been two years and five months of work leading up to today. That is certainly a long time—longer than I have even been a Greens member of this Assembly. The process has been thorough and robust up until now, and there is a series of good reforms contained in the bill.
The Greens want a safe and vibrant Canberra nightlife. We want people to be able to go out, hit the town and have a great time. We were concerned that this is not the case and that some people are fearful of going out in public at night. It was for this reason that in September last year we released our discussion paper on alcohol-related