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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3977 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

the relevant expertise. But it is necessary, because there are sanctions to these laws, for the police officer to be there to supervise it and to ensure that that person does it under the police officer's direction, otherwise that person could be liable for certain action by the owner. There is a necessity to protect that person and there is a necessity to ensure that the person is only doing it in accordance with the directions of a police officer who is in the process of enforcing this law.

I can think of a number of instances where similar types of situations do arise in other statutes. Again, I would say to Mr Hargreaves that it is not anything to be unduly alarmed about. If anything, I think that it probably offers some sensible protections all round, including to the offender.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.12): Perhaps I should clarify my interjection on burnouts that Mr Hargreaves picked up. I should have said that I had tried to do burnouts, rather than being particularly successful with them, in my younger days. At no stage did I use the oil and so forth which, I gather, you need to do them properly.

The issue that Mr Hargreaves raises with this legislation, and it comes with the first of his amendments about the seizure of vehicles by police, is that the penalty is totally over the top for the problem. I must say that in some ways I would be prepared to support this provision if it were about letting people cool down, if it were about saying, "You are misusing your car now. We are seizing the car. You will get it back within 48 hours and then we will work out how you are going to be charged and what the penalties will be". But the penalty of taking away somebody's vehicle in the way that that is to be done through this process is entirely, completely and utterly over the top. I think that that is the problem with the legislation.

I do not disagree with Mr Rugendyke's motivation. There is no doubt that the situation we have in Lonsdale Street, which Mr Rugendyke is trying to address, and the situation that arises out of the Summernats, which Mr Rugendyke is trying to address, do need to be addressed. I must say that I can see the sense in seizing a vehicle for a very short period. The difficulty here is that the vehicle seized can be held for 28 days. To me, that is going totally over the top.

The vehicles will range in price from $100 to $40,000. Some people will do a burnout deliberately to see what happens if their vehicle gets towed off, but they will get out of it very quickly as the legislation works. The other people would be so proud of their cars and would have put so much effort and time into them that they would not like having them removed for 48 hours, and we all understand that. The level of penalty for this offence is out of all proportion to the offence itself. That is why I have no choice but to support Mr Hargreaves' amendment.

As I say, if this clause were in the context of there being a cooling-down period, effectively, and a person would not have their car for 24 hours, 48 hours or something like that, I would say that that would make sense as it would deal with the situation immediately and everybody who went out on Friday night to have a burnout in Lonsdale Street or wherever would know that the police could take their cars away from them for the weekend, basically. Mr Rugendyke is trying to resolve the matter, and I do not

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