Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5072 ..
I now propose to outline the key features of the bill in more detail. The bill provides the minister with powers to prepare for and respond to a potential liquid fuel shortage by approving a fuel rationing scheme, which will be a disallowable instrument. An approved scheme will outline measures that may be implemented to respond to varying fuel shortage events. These may include limiting the amount of a type of fuel that consumers may purchase per day and preventing stockpiling fuel by restricting the ability to fill jerry cans or tanks.
As the specifics of a potential fuel shortage event cannot be pre-empted, the scheme will provide a range of measures that can be fine-tuned at the time they are needed. It will also allow for the imposition of fuel restrictions in different stages, to ensure that measures to respond appropriately to the severity of the event are available.
Importantly, the bill provides assurance that emergency services will not be affected by fuel restrictions. The fuel restriction scheme may also include exemptions for an entity if compliance with the scheme would cause that entity, or anyone else, serious detriment. For example, services like public transport and waste disposal may be exempted from rationing measures under a fuel restriction scheme.
As the scheme would be established in a disallowable instrument, there will be further opportunity to scrutinise the detail of any proposed measures to ensure confidence in the fairness of the scheme.
The minister may declare, by notifiable instrument, that fuel restrictions are in place for a stated time frame, with a maximum allowable time frame of three months. If required, an extension may be made to the fuel restrictions no earlier than one month before the end date of an existing declared restriction.
Notice of a fuel restriction declaration will be broadcast in the ACT by television or radio, and a public notice will also be issued to communicate the nature and requirements of the restrictions. Fuel stations will be required to display signs notifying the public that fuel restrictions are in place, that there are penalties for noncompliance, and directing them to further information. To ensure that those who sell fuel are able to be advised quickly in the event of a declaration, they will be required to ensure that the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate has their current contact information.
The bill provides powers to inspectors authorised under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 to ensure that fuel restrictions are complied with. These powers include requiring information from a person who is subject to a fuel restriction, issuing a written direction to ensure that fuel is used in accordance with the restrictions, collecting evidence to support an investigation of potential breaches of fuel restrictions, and arranging to stop the supply of fuel to premises if the inspector believes, on reasonable grounds, that a person is contravening a written direction.
The likelihood of a fuels rationing scheme being enacted is very low. However, it is important to make any such scheme robust and able to be enacted in a short time frame. The bill includes a measure to limit proceedings that would challenge a