Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5820 ..

maximum penalty, so it is okay; we can put ridiculous fines on those terrible people who hand out plastic bags, but we will only put the $27,500 fine on the really, really bad ones, the really bad bag distributors—those plastic bag distributors who have gone beyond, over and above, the ordinarily just mundane evil that is handing out a plastic bag.

It is worth at this point just reflecting on the sloppiness. I think the sloppiness reflects a lack of regard for the impacts of the legislation, and the defence that has been put up—that only very few bag distributors will get the maximum $27,500 fine—is a very thin defence indeed.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (12.09): The Greens will be supporting this amendment. It is important that the issues are worked through properly with the retailers and that the public have adequate information about the—soon to be no longer proposed—changes. So, for this reason, we will support the government’s amendment.

MR CORBELL: (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.09): The Liberal Party continues to wilfully misrepresent the penalties regime in the legislation. Is Mr Seselja seriously suggesting that penalties for corporations should be the same as penalties for individuals? Is that what he is arguing in this place? Because, if he is not, he should perhaps think a bit more about what he is saying, because $27,500 is a penalty on a corporation; it is not on a natural person. It is not on any individual; it is on the corporation. And I am sure that Woolworths and others would be delighted if the penalty regime was the same for a natural person as it was for a corporation; that is, at the lower level. But that is not the way we structure penalty regimes in this place. Mr Seselja knows it and he is just continually misrepresenting these provisions for his own crass political purposes.

I would also deal with the issue of consultation. I draw to the opposition’s attention the detailed consultation report prepared by my department and released last year. This bill highlights that the organisations my department consulted with included Woolworths; Coles Australia; Target Australia; Kmart Australia; Aldi Australia; the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association; the Australian National Retailers Association; the Australian Food and Grocery Council; the National Association of Retail Grocers of Australia; the Australian Retailers Association; the Conservation Council of the ACT; Clean Up Australia; Keep Australia Beautiful Council; Independent Grocers of Australia; and the Kondouris Group, operators of Supabarn. In addition, my department contacted McDonalds; Yum! restaurants, who are the operators of Kentucky Fried Chicken; Hungry Jack’s; Red Rooster; Kingsley’s Chicken; National Seniors Australia; Council on the Ageing ACT; and the ACT Council of Social Service.

This was not a desultory effort when it came to consultation. This was a detailed engagement with those organisations, all of whom were contacted. Comment was sought from them, a number of them on a number of occasions, and taken into account in the development of this legislation. The claims that there has been no stakeholder engagement or that it has been rudimentary are without any foundation and I draw members’ attention to the consultation report in that regard.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video