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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1135 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the government's proposed changes to the ACT's vehicle registration system affect and disadvantage various sectors of the community. Since February, I have spoken and written to and received emails from many people who are concerned about the changes. The sad thing is that there are many others who are not aware that the changes are about to take place.

Indeed, the pamphlet entitled "Changes to vehicle registration", which is the first indication that people out there in the community will have about these changes, is sent out only on the renewal of registration; it was not advised as a general publication. People will not know that the changes exist until they receive this little blue pamphlet. That is not what I would call a consultation process. The government has a commitment to consultation. Last night, we heard Mrs Burke pontificating about the extent to which this government goes about community consultation. This example of consultation is appalling.

Under the current law, persons must renew their vehicle registration within a 12-month period. If a vehicle has not been registered after this 12-month period, the licence plates can be cancelled and the registration deemed never to have happened. In the minister's words, the registration cannot be renewed, but the vehicle can be reregistered. From 31 March, the government will be giving motorists only three months to renew their vehicle registration. If the registration is not renewed, the licence plates can be cancelled. Persons who do not pay after the renewal date will have to reregister their vehicles. This means getting new licence plates, passing a full inspection that will cost $33 and paying a $30 administrative charge.

I spoke earlier about the consultation process with members of the community. The consultation process also should be with members of this place, who have the duty to pass or not to pass responsible legislation. I wrote to the Minister for Urban Services on 21 February 2001 regarding these changes and I still have not received a response. How many weeks ago is that? Also, four weeks ago I asked officers of the Department of Urban Services about it in a briefing about the changes and expressed my concerns. They said that they would look into it. I have heard nothing. So much for consultation! I would suggest that the consultation process is only about telling people news that you think they are going to like; so, when it comes to finding out about something they are not going to like, the consultation process comes to an abrupt halt. Essentially, the minister and the department have been on notice for five weeks that people are unhappy about this change.

If the government succeeds in getting its changes through, many groups in the community will be significantly disadvantaged. Motoring hobbyists are one. There are many car enthusiasts in Canberra who own vintage and veteran cars. Indeed, there are members of this place who fit into that category. Those people spend hours, days and years restoring their vehicles to the original condition. Those people also own cars that they have for everyday use. Many of these people register the family vehicle continuously, but register their hobby vehicles for limited periods. They work hard to preserve Australia's motoring history and have legitimate reasons for having their vehicles off the road. Some vehicles are convertibles and their owners drive them only during the summer months; others keep their vehicles off the road while they restore and repair them.

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