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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3715 ..

Title read by Clerk.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (2.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

After a lengthy period of consultation, I am pleased to present this bill to the Assembly. The purpose of this bill is to tighten up legislation surrounding the delivery of prohibited things into the Alexander Maconochie Centre, or AMC. These prohibited things include drugs, weapons and mobile phones. The introduction of prohibited things presents danger to detainees and staff and it threatens the progress that detainees are able to make towards genuine rehabilitation during their time in the corrections system.

The need to tighten up the legislation stems from the rapid rise in the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or RPA, commonly referred to as drones, to deliver prohibited items over security fences. This problem is emerging nationally and worldwide. And the ACT has not been immune, having experienced at least two attempted drone deliveries.

Other states have also been affected. Victoria reported that from March to early November 2020 there were 97 incidents involving remotely piloted aircraft at their prisons. The other states are responding to this developing problem and have moved to update their legislation in response, and we must too.

Consultation with legal practitioners has indicated that our existing legislation surrounding the delivery of prohibited things into the prison may not cover the delivery of those things via remotely piloted aircraft and that it would be beneficial to strengthen the legislation. As written, existing law does not clearly capture using remotely piloted aircraft to fly over the AMC and drop something inside. These changes will make it easier to charge and prosecute anyone who tries to deliver banned items into our prison via drones.

Consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, or CASA, which has authority over air space, revealed that Queensland has created legislation that should serve to legislate against delivery via remotely piloted aircraft without conflicting with commonwealth law.

The proposed amendments in the bill have been reviewed by the Human Rights Commission and a number of community groups. None of these organisations raised any objections to the amendments. We must move to strengthen our legislation against this problem quickly. The amendments I am proposing are an effective way to clarify and bolster our legislation without causing potential conflict with commonwealth law.

I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Gentleman) adjourned to the next sitting.

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