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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3697 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

such as those dealing with alcohol and drugs, which have been embodied into a general part of the legislation and they are not as easy to access as before. So, Mr Speaker, this stuff takes a little bit more cogitation than we have had time to give it so far.

I mentioned a little earlier the urgency and the time taken to do all these sorts of things. All of this package, in fact, was agreed to by all of the Ministers who considered the issue last February. Now, all of a sudden, we were given the package in the last sitting and told, "Okay, let's debate it; let's go through it". As you have seen, Mr Speaker, it has to be four inches thick, if it is anything.

In South Australia it was introduced in February and it was passed through both houses in July. In August, Mr Speaker, it was signed by the Governor of that State, and on 11 November it was gazetted. So it took an enormous amount of time to be processed through their system. In New South Wales it was passed in July. So the State that is supposedly pushing us to get on with it actually passed their legislation back in July, but we had not seen it.

I know that some of my colleagues have some difficulty with the responses that the Minister has given to the scrutiny of Bills committee. I am sure that those responses can be addressed fairly easily and fairly quickly, but, Mr Speaker, we are not ready to debate the detail of this legislation at the moment. I think it would be reasonable if the Government gave an extra week for consideration of the detail stage.

I foreshadow for members that I will be moving to adjourn the debate in the detail stage. I am happy to support the legislation in principle, but I will be asking the Assembly to adjourn debate on the detail stage to another time. I do not think anything more needs to be said. I am sure that other people will have comments to make during the detail stage.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (12.03): Mr Speaker, this package of Bills is quite an important package in ensuring that the ACT remains part of a national scheme to reform road rules in Australia and provisions dealing with road transport. I am of the view that that kind of reform is long overdue. It is not a very intrusive part, perhaps, of moving from one State to another in this country. Nonetheless, it is a matter of some inconvenience on occasions, and no doubt some confusion and perhaps even some occasion for injury or damage to property, that there are different road rules in different States of this country, or at least there have been until the Australian States and Territories and the Commonwealth got together and decided that there should be some level of uniformity in the road transport and traffic rules.

Mr Speaker, I think all of us are aware of the differences in those rules. I do not think it is worth outlining what they are today, but Australians certainly look to their governments and their parliaments to address issues of needless variation in rules of that kind. Clearly, the most egregious example of States taking different decisions about transport parameters was the decision taken last century to establish different railway gauges in different jurisdictions, particularly New South Wales and Victoria. Those different rail

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