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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 591 ..


The ACT lake users group was consulted to determine the issues to be addressed in the proposed review. The lake users group comprises representatives of recreational lake users, sporting and community clubs, and commercial operators, along with the ACT and Australian government’s lake managers and regulators.

A working group, the ACT lake managers forum, was subsequently established, comprising representatives of the National Capital Authority, ACT Water Police, Access Canberra, Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, to progress the review of the Lakes Act and the commonwealth Lakes Ordinance. The provisions of the commonwealth Lakes Ordinance and the Lakes Act are effectively the same, with the main point of difference being jurisdiction over different bodies of water within the territory.

The ACT government supported the review due to concerns for users of ACT lakes and the ACT coroner’s report recommendations in August 2015 following a fatality on the Molonglo Reach water ski area in 2010. One of the recommendations of the coroner’s report was that a review of the relevant legislation be carried out to ensure that it is adequate and carries sufficient deterrence for unlawful use, and that members of the Australian Federal Police, ACT Water Police, have sufficient powers to enforce relevant legislation, including the issuing of infringement notices and the carrying out of random alcohol and drug testing.

The ACT lake managers forum agreed that the Lakes Act and Lakes Ordinance amendments should be modelled on the maritime safety laws of New South Wales, and specifically the New South Wales Marine Safety Regulation 2016. The New South Wales regulations are the most relevant to the ACT based on the ACT geographic location and the fact that they currently reflect best practice in maritime regulation. Further, given that water and boat users regularly cross jurisdictions, it is important that the maritime laws of the ACT and New South Wales are consistent.

The Jervis Bay Territory Marine Safety Ordinance 2016 was also recently enacted to address similar issues in Jervis Bay territory and served as a useful reference for amendments to the Lakes Act and ordinance as it is modelled on the New South Wales Marine Safety Regulation 2016 for safety and navigation provisions and the ACT Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977 for drug and alcohol provisions.

The new drug and alcohol provisions will modernise the offence provisions and ensure consistency with the ACT road transport legislation framework and comparable maritime legislation in New South Wales. The drug and alcohol penalties under the bill are not linked to a person’s vehicle drivers licence and the associated demerit system that applies.

The other major safety aspect of the bill relates to the responsibility of the boat operator. This person is known as the master of the boat, similar to the driver of a motor vehicle. The bill contains specific provisions in relation to the responsibility of masters. The master of a boat has specific responsibilities under the legislation in


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