Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4114 ..
fairly and squarely into the contemporary record of the applicant rather than assessing the premises based on the record and practices of past licensees.
This is a matter of absolute logic and fairness. I have not had a satisfactory explanation as to why it has been drafted in this way. If we are going to have new and reformed legislation, clearly it should be just legislation. As it currently stands, there is the capacity for unjust decisions to be made. I commend the amendments to the Assembly.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.04): The government will not be supporting these amendments. The intent of Mrs Dunne’s amendment No 6 appears to be to limit the consideration of convictions to current licensees, influential people and close associates so that any previous criminal history of former licensees is not taken into account.
The Assembly should note that this is already the case for new licensees. Paragraph 78(a) only relates to a renewal of a licence or an amendment to a licence. It has no application to new licensees or transfers of licences. This means that the opposition’s concern to protect new entrants to the market from unfair consideration of previous actions by licensees is unfounded.
However, the practical effect of this amendment is extremely detrimental to the ability of the commissioner to deem premises suitable at renewal. In looking at the suitability of premises, convictions against staff, crowd controllers and patrons are all relevant considerations that the commissioner should be able to take into account in deciding on a renewal of a licence application.
The Assembly should note that in the case of a transfer of a licence the decision as to whether or not to transfer to a new licensee would not be based on convictions of previous licensees. I refer the Assembly to clause 41 of the bill where there is no requirement for the commissioner to consider the suitability of premises criteria in deciding an application for a transfer. In summary, if passed, this amendment would impact negatively on the integrity of the licensing regime. It is unnecessary because the bill already achieves what the opposition wants.
Turning to amendment No 7, again the government will not be supporting this amendment. The intent of this amendment appears to be to limit the consideration of proven non-compliance of the premises to current licensees, influential people and close associates so that any previous occupational discipline by the ACAT of former licensees is not taken into account.
Again, this is already the case, as there would be no history of noncompliance in the case of a new application. The suitability of a premises is not taken into account when transferring a licence. Paragraph (b) applies when making a decision to renew or amend a licence. In these circumstances, any occupational discipline taken against the licensee during the term of the licence should be considered by the commissioner as part of the harm minimisation and community safety principles.