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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (4 September) . . Page.. 3057 ..

MR SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Osborne, I would like to acknowledge the presence of students and staff from the School Without Walls in the gallery. Welcome to your Assembly.

Firearms - Compensation Scheme

MR OSBORNE: I have to have a drink of water, Mr Speaker. I am in a slight state of shock after that revelation from Ms Reilly that kids are smoking marijuana in our schools. The next thing she will be telling me is that they are having sex before marriage. I am sorry; I will try to calm down, Mr Speaker. I am a bit shaky. My question, Mr Speaker, is to the Attorney-General, Mr Humphries, and is about the compensation scheme for firearms which have been surrendered under the current 12 months' amnesty. Minister, would you please explain to me and to this Assembly the details of just how this scheme is going to work?

Ms Follett: He tabled it last week.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I tabled last week the details of the compensation amounts, but I do not think I went through the procedure that a person needs to go through if they want to surrender a weapon, so let me do so now. A person who wants to surrender a firearm should go to the Weapons Registry at Civic Police Station. Mr Stefaniak could tell you these things if you asked him, but I will tell you anyway. They are issued with a detailed receipt by police for the type of weapon and its model. If the weapon is on the compensation list, which I tabled in this place last week, they are paid the value of that weapon and sometimes of the accoutrements that go with it, like the telescopic lens.

Mr Moore: Telescopic sight.

MR HUMPHRIES: Telescopic sight. Thank you, Mr Moore. You obviously have some background in this matter. A cheque for the value of those things is paid within a few days. There have been some problems in getting the scheme up and running, mainly resulting from the fact that the Commonwealth was slow to tell us how much the amounts were going to be that were going to attach to particular items. I am pleased that that has now been sorted out and that people who want to hand in a weapon can do so. We hope to be able to pay them very quickly. There is a backlog at the moment which is being worked through. The firearms are being paid for in the order in which they were handed in and, at the moment, I think by about the middle of next week we should be through the backlog. People should get their payment within a few days of having lodged their weapon. As far as the arrangement between the Commonwealth and the ACT is concerned, we make the payments and then we ask the Commonwealth to reimburse us for that and we - touch wood - get money from the Commonwealth in due course.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question. In order to streamline the system to some extent, would it be possible for those eligible for this compensation to have the option of having the amount directly credited against their rates or land tax accounts? Is that an option that would be considered?

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