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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (28 April) . . Page.. 73 ..

Car Registration Plates

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I ask a question of the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, when the new series numberplates became available recently there seemed to be a bit of confusion. People fronting up were told that they had to have a plate with the slogan on it, while you were publicly saying that the public had a choice. By what means have you since made known generally to members of the public that they do have a choice when registering their cars - that they may have either a plate bearing the slogan or a plate without it?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I have to say that to follow Trevor Kaine will be a hard act. I acknowledge his efforts in the urban services portfolio. As to the plates, as most people would well know, we now have for the first time an option on plates. We have choice on numberplates in the ACT. You can have a numberplate without a slogan or, if you so choose, you can have a plate with a slogan. That is up to the public to ask for when they go to the motor registries. For the interest of all here, I am told that at the moment about 70 per cent of people are actually taking up the "Feel the Power" plates. I am impressed and pleased that the majority of Canberrans are quite willing to get out there and sell that message. I assume that the staff will continue to offer people the option as they front up at the counter.

MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question. The Minister is learning fast, Mr Speaker, because he did not answer my question. What I asked was: By what means had he generally informed the public that the choice was available? He did not answer that question; but he did anticipate, in a sense, my supplementary question, because it seems that, as a matter of practice, people are not given a choice when they turn up. If they do not specifically ask, they are given, presumably, the ones with the slogan, whether they want them or not. If they do not know that they have a choice, how can they exercise that choice? As a supplementary part of that one, just how many plates without the slogan on them are available?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the new combination of plates, which also include the last number becoming a letter from the alphabet, has given us something like 48 years' worth of plates. We do not print up that number of plates immediately. What we have on hand is stock both with the slogan and without the slogan.

Mr Berry: He still has not answered your question.

MR SMYTH: It is all right, Wayne. We will get to the answer. You just have to wait patiently, squire.

Mr Berry: Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Settle down, Mr Berry.

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