Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2016) . . Page.. 251 ..
These amendments will add convictions for serious firearm offences—those punishable by imprisonment for 20 years or more—and money laundering to the list. This recognises that these offences are often associated with serious organised crime. The new measures promote community safety: they enhance ACT Policing’s ability to disrupt organised crime; they protect certain victims from convicted offenders; and they give convicted offenders the best chance for rehabilitation.
The fourth set of amendments in this bill deals with firearms regulation. The bill clarifies that the offence of possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will only apply if a person physically possesses a firearm, as opposed to it being in a locked cupboard in their house. This avoids, for example, any suggestion that a legal firearms owner is committing a crime by having wine with dinner.
The rules for dealers to undertake testing of firearms by a dealer would be clarified. The amendments would clearly state that a licensed dealer can undertake firearms testing on property other than their registered premises. This is necessary, for example, where firearms manufacturers need to test firearms in a number of environmental conditions to ensure that they work. Some testing, such as testing a firearm in rain or after being dropped in mud, may not be able to take place on registered premises.
The amendments will also allow for the disposal of a firearm seized or surrendered under any territory law. Currently a court can only order disposal of a seized firearm if it has been seized or surrendered under the Firearms Act. There is no policy basis for preventing a court from ordering the disposal of any seized firearm.
Finally, the bill includes an amendment to deal with breaches of parole orders. Under the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005, parole is automatically cancelled if a person is convicted of an ACT offence. The amendment in this bill clarifies that the offence itself, and not just the conviction, has to occur during the parole period. This change gives effect to the government’s commitment to implement recommendation No 39 of the 2015 inquiry into sentencing. The inquiry was conducted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety.
I commend this bill to the Assembly. It will clarify the operation of criminal law legislation, support officers across the criminal justice system to carry out their roles more effectively, and improve the territory’s firearms regulations.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.
Sitting pattern 2017
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (12.15): I move:
That, unless the Speaker fixes an alternative day or hour of meeting on receipt of a request in writing from an absolute majority of Members, or the Assembly otherwise orders, the Assembly shall meet as follows for 2017: