Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 9 Hansard (7 September) . . Page.. 2960 ..
Mr Smyth , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (10.52): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill is a result of the Road Transport Public Passenger Services Bill, in that many amendments were required to a number of other acts and regulations. Further, the opportunity has been taken to include other changes required to implement other outstanding transport-related matters, including driving offences.
A number of pieces of the road transport legislation have been amended in respect of the phrase "found guilty". It has been necessary to clarify that when a court deals with a person for a serious driving offence no licence disqualification applies if the court deals with the person under section 448 or 556A of the Crimes Act 1900 or section 96 of the Children and Young People Act 1999.
While the government reinforced this position during the debate for the introduction of the road transport legislation in December 1999, there is divided opinion among members of the legal profession about the effect on licence disqualification of matters dealt with in this way. As a result, the government considers it prudent that this issue be clarified once and for all. This bill omits any reference to "found guilty" in serious driving offence provisions except for repeat offenders.
Two effects flow from these changes. First, the automatic disqualification periods will not apply if a person is found guilty of an offence but not convicted. They will only apply if the court records a conviction against the person. This will be the case whether the person is a first offender or a repeat offender. Second, if a court does not record a conviction for the first offence but finds the person guilty and the person reoffends within five years and is convicted for the second offence, the person is then treated as a repeat offender, with a higher maximum penalty.
The Interpretation Act 1967 is also amended to clarify that the meaning of "found guilty" includes when a court deals with a person under section 448 or 556A of the Crimes Act or section 96 of the Children and Young People Act 1999.
On another issue, the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 has been amended to allow for recording mediums for camera detection devices, other than photographs and magneto-optical WORM drives which are specified in the primary legislation, to be prescribed in the regulations. This is required to provide a more flexible approach regarding the introduction of the red-light cameras.