Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5875 ..
whether this could prove a pathway for an increase in the number of security guards carrying guns. I think members would agree that this would have constituted a large-scale policy shift inappropriate for a JACS bill. I am pleased, however, that, on closer inspection, and with assistance from the department and the attorney’s office, we have been able to clarify that this is not, in fact, the case.
A security licence is required for a range of listed activities. An example of the current list of activities is:
… patrols, protects, watches or guards property (including cash in transit).
What the amendment will do is add two further categories of licensed activity. These are guards with a firearm for cash in transit and guards with a firearm for protecting property. What is important to note at this point is that it is actually the Firearms Act that authorises the use of all firearms, including by security guards. The amendments today will not allow a greater number of guards to carry guns. Should they require a gun, they will still need to apply to the Firearms Registry and satisfy all the grounds, such as being an eligible person, having a legitimate reason to carry a gun, passing the criminal history checks and having the appropriate knowledge and training.
What will be gained from being more exact about the list of regulated activities is the opportunity to set more specific training requirements. In the regulations there will be specific training requirements listed for a guard who carries a gun. Whereas currently the only prescribed training requirement is a certificate II in security operations, specific electives will be listed for guards who carry guns.
Required electives will include controlling security-risk situations using firearms and controlling people using empty-hand techniques or non-lethal techniques. The Greens believe this is a good outcome. Anyone who works with a firearm in a public place, obviously, should be as well trained as possible and these additional requirements will improve that level of training, we believe.
On that basis, we are satisfied that these changes to the Security Industry Act are straightforward and do not introduce large-scale policy change. As I have said previously, the remainder of the amendments are minor and non-controversial, and the Greens will be supporting them.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.41), in reply: I thank members for their support of the bill. It was not that hard, really, was it, once we got down to it? It was not that hard. It is not a complex bill and indeed, if it was that hard or if it was a controversial bill, I would imagine the opposition would have provided their opposition to this bill and would have voted against the bill. But, after the huff and bluster from Mrs Dunne, there is no opposition to the bill. The bill is straightforward and makes no major policy and, surprise, surprise, it is supported unanimously in this place.
I do have to of course draw the Assembly’s attention to the fact that, despite the opposition being advised last Wednesday that the bill was due to come on for debate this week, they did not arrange a briefing for themselves until yesterday.