Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 590 ..
views of commercial and recreational lake users, lakes managers, the regulators, and operational experiences in administering the legislation. It is always good to have consistency and harmonisation and to make things clearer. I commend the 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) (11.13), in reply: I thank members for their input into the debate on the Lakes Amendment Bill 2017. The bill makes amendments, as we have heard, to the territory’s primary legislation that regulates the safe use of territory lakes, the Lakes Act 1976. We have a revised explanatory statement to the bill, which I will table for the benefit of the chamber.
The territory is a unique jurisdiction comprising modern urban centres, suburban and rural living, and we are fortunate to have a mix of high quality infrastructure coupled with large areas of nature, including our waterways, available for the enjoyment of the community. Canberra really is the bush capital.
Modern, effective and efficient laws, including those contained in the bill, aim to encourage enjoyment of our lakes while protecting the community who use them. The safe use of our lakes is necessary for all Canberrans as well as visitors to the national capital.
The Lakes Act provides the framework for safe use of our lakes. It also provides for managing activities on ACT lakes and waterways. This includes both commercial and recreational activities and provisions for lake closures for special events or to reduce the risk to the public.
The bill proposes a number of amendments to the Lakes Act. The proposed amendments may be categorised into three broad areas: firstly, major amendments to the Lakes Act to improve safety and navigation; secondly, specific activity related forums in response to operational experience; and, thirdly, minor and technical amendments to the act to improve its operation.
I would like to revisit the major amendments in the bill to the navigation and safety provisions of the act. These include the introduction of drug and alcohol testing for boat users consistent with the ACT road rules. I will detail the compliance and enforcement tools to be introduced to allow appropriate regulation of the navigation and safety provisions for lake users. I will also outline the life jacket requirements for users of boats on the lake.
A recent review of the Lakes Act 1976, conducted with the National Capital Authority, highlighted that the act is outdated and has inadequate stature. It has not been reviewed since its inception and does not currently provide clear or enforceable provisions in relation to navigation and public safety for users of ACT lakes. The legislation is out of step with contemporary marine legislation in surrounding New South Wales waters, which Canberrans frequent, and this potentially creates conflicts between lake users for New South Wales and interstate users who are increasingly enjoying ACT waterways.