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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2551 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I am also quite pleased to see that the legislation describes where one can place a sign. If the placing of a sign is going to cause a danger - for example, it is in the middle of a traffic island at an intersection - that is totally wrong and you cannot do that. I would not be surprised to find that you cannot place a sandwich board on the windscreen of a car either. I imagine that that would be illegal.

Mr Smyth: You cannot do it now.

MR HARGREAVES: You cannot do it now, thanks very much to Mr Moore's Litter (Amendment) Bill. At present the law does not allow rangers to remove a sign, which can at times create all sorts of problems. For instance, if a ranger feels that an advertising sign is blocking the view of traffic and may cause an accident, even if that sign is halfway up a lamppost, he still cannot cause it to be removed. The ranger has to notify the person responsible for the sign and then ask them to remove it. This is all very time consuming. However, under this new amendment the ranger has the power to move the sign. After he has made due attempts to get the heinous perpetrator of this illegal signage to move their sign, he can remove it. After a prescribed period of time, he can also arrange for its disposal, which was not possible under previous legislation.

I commend the department for consulting with the various industries who use this method of advertising. The only people who will find this legislation a nuisance are those who do not want to comply with the new processes. Mr Speaker, the Labor Party supports the Bill but, members, when you are campaigning at election time make sure your campaign advertisements comply with this Act because you never know when big brother, aka David Lissimore, is watching you. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill.

MR OSBORNE (11.00): I am a little bit concerned about this Bill. To think that the Government will need to take such drastic action because of one person is a little bit disconcerting. This Bill mainly deals with moveable signs. Until now all signs on public property have been illegal if the Minister has not given prior permission for them. I will take into consideration what Mr Hargreaves said. The Government has been content to turn a blind eye to all those that you see about town - the happy birthday signs on bridges, garage sale signs on streetlights, just to name a few. The existing fine, I think, is $1,000.

This Bill will allow moveable signs if people follow a set of rules contained in a code of practice. The code would be a disallowable instrument. My concern is with the draft code released with the Bill, which I feel is perhaps a little restrictive. For example, there can be no "happy birthday" signs on bridges. I think they add a bit of atmosphere to the city. Secondly, it will be virtually impossible to put out a sign for a garage sale, as they cannot go on a residential nature strip, a tree, a streetlight or a traffic light, within 20 metres of an intersection or on the roadside grass verge. I would ask: Where are you going to put them? It is pleasing that schools and charities are excluded from some of these restrictions.

Another potential problem that I see for one-off signs is the requirement for $5m public liability insurance if the sign is put on public land. It does, as I said, Mr Speaker, look to me like bureaucracy gone mad. It is unfortunate that pieces of legislation need to be put in place because of certain individuals who seem to continually beat you.

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