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any member of the public would have the opportunity to object to the court in relation to both an application for a new licence and a renewal. In determining whether a person is a fit and proper person to be licensed, the court may have regard to whether the person has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty or is the subject of a charge pending in respect of such an offence. The court may also have regard to whether the person has, at any time, been convicted of an offence or has been refused a licence under the relevant Act or similar legislation in another jurisdiction. In the absence of an objection from the police - or a member of the public, in the case of auctioneers licences - an application for a renewal of an existing licence would not need to be supported by the references referred to above. At present, an applicant for a licence is required to pay the fee for making an application to the Magistrates Court, together with the nominal annual fee specified in the relevant legislation. The latter fee will be abolished, since an application to the court for a licence already attracts the filing fee of $72. The payment of the filing fee is, in effect, the cost of the licence. It is inappropriate to have two fees in respect of the one application.

Returning to my comments about the age of these two Acts, I might add that a review of them could readily show other aspects which could be addressed and which I think should be addressed. However, as well as the need to determine individual priorities, there will be a more strategic scrutiny of this legislation in the Government's forthcoming review of business legislation, particularly as it impacts on small business, with the aim of creating a more positive business environment, free from unnecessary limitations. At a national level, the report to heads of government of the Vocational Education and Employment Advisory Committee will, if adopted, also require some changes in the approach to the legislation under consideration. One of the issues that I hope will be addressed in that process, Mr Speaker, will be the question of whether it is appropriate to continue to use “fit and proper person” tests in legislation such as this.

Auctioneers licences fall due for renewal on 1 July of each year. For this reason, I would like to advise members that I will be seeking to have these Bills debated and passed in the next sittings so that the new legislative schemes are in place before the end of June. I commend this Bill to the house.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.56): Mr Speaker, I present the Pawnbrokers (Amendment) Bill 1995.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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