Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1120 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
community service orders. But that is my advice as of today. It is my advice that it is $170,000. Clearly, the Government would have no reason to proceed with this package of legislation if the cost of implementing it was going to be greater than the saving we were going to make by doing it.
I turn to the question of adjourning the debate. Mr Speaker, this legislation was put on the table originally more than six months ago. It was reintroduced earlier this year and the Government made it clear at the Government business meeting last week that it really wanted to get this package of legislation through the Assembly this week. Why have I said that? The answer is simple. In the first year - not the outyears, but the first year - of operation of this new package, we expect to receive something like $400,000 in outstanding fines. For outyears it is only $70,000, but in the first year it is $400,000. It will take three months to crank up the legislation through an advertising campaign, details of which are provided in the budget which has just been brought down.
Adjourning this matter until August puts off by five months the beginning of the new fine-default package. Mr Speaker, $400,000 is riding on that. With great respect, I would suggest to members that six months is more than enough time to have these issues considered and it is not unreasonable for the Government to say, "Let us consider these Bills before the Assembly". I am sorry to have fairly complex amendments from Mr Stanhope today. With great respect, I think it is a bit much to ask us to consider today fairly complex amendments to legislation which has been on the table for six months.
Mr Berry: You are arguing against yourself. You are arguing for an adjournment.
MR HUMPHRIES: It has been on the table for six months and to ask us to consider that today is a bit much. But there is an alternative. The legislation would need three months' preparation time before it could be made effective after its passage today in the Assembly. If Mr Stanhope has amendments which he thinks through and is able to get support for, they can still be passed in August - before the legislation would begin to operate in September - but we would be able to begin work on putting the package in place in the meantime. That is the compromise I suggest to the Assembly. Let us pass the legislation today. If Mr Stanhope works out some way of doing what he wants to do in August, we will pass those amendments in August and the legislation can still begin in September. We can start to get that $400,000, which will pay for important community services.
MR OSBORNE (6.26): I think that what Mr Humphries has had to say is quite sensible. Mr Speaker, I was first approached by Mr Stanhope this morning, and I must admit to being a little confused about something that Mr Rugendyke raised with me. I thought the community service orders were mainly about juveniles and I indicated that I was more than happy to support Mr Stanhope on that. I had not given much thought to the issue of adults. I do take on board what Mr Humphries is saying about the cost. What is the point in doing it if it is going to cost us money?