Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 34 ..
The commonwealth has prohibited the importation of body armour into Australia since 1977. This prohibition commenced due to concerns that body armour could be readily available for use in criminal activities. The ACT’s laws on this matter will now be consistent with the equivalent commonwealth laws, bringing consistency and clarity in their implementation, thus making sense across a number of jurisdictions.
It is of utmost importance that our laws on firearms and prohibited weapons effectively protect our community while remaining workable for those who are licensed, responsible owners of firearms. We need to make sure that we continue to update our legislation to be consistent with changes in the field out there. I believe this bill strikes the appropriate balance to improve the operation of our firearms laws, make them more consistent across the board and effectively ban dangerous items. I commend this bill to the Assembly.
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) (11.42), in reply: I thank colleagues for their input into this bill; it is a very important piece of legislation. The Firearms and Prohibited Weapons Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 makes several significant amendments to the Firearms Act of 1996, the Firearms Regulation of 2008, the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996 and the Prohibited Weapons Regulation 1997.
This bill was developed following recommendations made by several stakeholders, including the firearms consultative committee, ACT Policing, the Rural Landholders Association and firearms manufacturers located in the ACT. These stakeholders are committed to ensuring that the operation of firearms and prohibited weapons legislation remains relevant and workable. These stakeholders share an interest in ensuring that our firearms legislation strikes a balance between public safety and the interests of licensed and legitimate firearms users. It is in this context that these amendments have been drafted and remain consistent with the principles underlying firearms regulation in Australia: that firearm possession and use are privileges conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety.
The government acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of firearms users are law-abiding citizens. There are many valid uses of firearms in the community, including target shooting, pest animal management and primary production. The government values its positive working relationship with these stakeholders and recognises the valuable contribution they make to the community and the economy.
The amendments in the bill are intended to reinforce community safety from firearms crime in several important ways while allowing greater access to firearms for legitimate users under specified circumstances. Some of these amendments include: increased storage requirements for firearms of category A and B licence holders who possess more than 10 firearms, meaning that they will be required to store their weapons in a metal, brick or concrete safe; a prohibition on detachable centre-fire rifle magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds; technical amendments to provisions which relate to firearms instructors; and greater protection for