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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 36 ..

may choose to allow certain parts of any information to be released to the applicant in a hearing, for example, a tribunal hearing, despite the fact that the information is held to be security sensitive. I am confident that this reform is proportionate. Although it limits the right to procedural fairness, it does so only to protect public safety.

The bill also makes several minor and technical amendments to the wording in the Firearms Act 1996 and Firearms Regulation and the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996 to ensure consistency across the ACT statute book. Amendments to the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996 and the Prohibited Weapons Regulation 1997 will strengthen our laws around dangerous bladed weapons and clarify the definition of body armour. The amendments prohibit the possession of credit card knives or other bladed weapons disguised to look like non-weapons and amend the description of body armour to adopt the definition that is recognised nationally for customs purposes. These minor amendments have been made with the support of our stakeholders, and I thank them again for their assistance with this bill.

This type of law reform should be an inclusive process and one that fosters a shared understanding and respect for the interests of stakeholders. As well as stakeholders who advanced their ideas for the bill, the government consulted widely on the amendments with members of the firearms community such as the licensed shooting range operators, martial arts clubs and justice stakeholders including the Director of Public Prosecutions, the ACT Bar Association and the ACT Law Society.

I particularly mention the important role that the ACT community have played in developing not only this bill but also the important proposed government amendments. Our positive and productive working relationship with stakeholders involved in the firearms community has meant that the bill has been continually worked on and revised to be the best firearms legislation in the ACT. The willingness of stakeholders to proactively identify and work with us on the proposed government amendments has been especially appreciated, and I note the valuable recommendations and feedback from a number of stakeholders in this regard.

This bill provides greater clarity for firearms owners on their rights and responsibilities to protect public safety. The bill strikes a balance between ensuring public safety and respecting the valid uses of firearms by licensed and legitimate firearms users, which include the use of firearms in businesses which deliver economic benefits for the Canberra community. The government is committed to building safer communities in Canberra, and the amendments in this bill greatly contribute to this. I thank members for their input into this, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 18, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

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