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MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (7.30), by leave: Mr Speaker, I present the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1995 and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this Bill amends the Motor Traffic Act 1936 to reinstate the ability to appoint non-public servants as authorised inspectors, medical testing officers and motor traffic officers under the Act. This provision in the Motor Traffic Act was inadvertently removed when the Statutory Offices (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 - the SO(MP) Act - was enacted in December last year under the previous Government. That Act amended most ACT Acts to simplify the practice of having both the Minister and the chief executive separately appointing a person to the statutory office and to the public service position having that statutory office's functions. However, the SO(MP) Act also inadvertently removed the ability to appoint private sector mechanics to be inspectors under the authorised inspector scheme. This scheme has been very successful in enabling private garages to “clear” less serious defects and to certify gas conversions of motor vehicles for registration purposes. It had a similar effect for the appointment of medical testing officers, who are required to advise the Registrar of Motor Vehicles on the fitness of applicants for drivers licences.

Mr Speaker, the effect of the SO(MP) Act with regard to mechanics has been to prevent additional inspectors being appointed to certify work under this Act. This has led to inconvenience and loss of business opportunity for some private sector mechanics, who are unable to clear defects or certify gas conversions of motor vehicles without this appointment. If offered such business, those mechanics currently not appointed must either refuse the work or undertake the work in the knowledge that they must employ an authorised inspector to certify this work. This is an unsatisfactory situation, both for the mechanics concerned and for members of the public, whose choice of mechanics is restricted. The effect in relation to the medical officers is similar, in that private medical practitioners not currently appointed to be medical testing officers are unable to provide this service to their patients. Likewise, it is not currently possible to appoint persons other than ACT public servants as motor traffic officers, so that they can perform other functions under the Motor Traffic Act, as specifically authorised by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

Mr Speaker, this Bill will not introduce any new provisions under the Act. It will merely reinstate provisions that have enabled successive governments to successfully utilise private sector resources to the benefit of the whole community. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitecross) adjourned.

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