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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2019 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

clause 30 and not clause 25. Clause 30 is the one that deals with the duration of sports bookmaking licences, so I am making an amendment to that. It adds the words:

... the period should generally be 15 years, except where the applicant has specified a shorter period, or the Commission is of the opinion that a shorter period should apply.

That latter concept is already implied in a note to the bill, but I think we should be making it more specific. The Canberra Racecourse bookmakers have said that there is an element of uncertainty for them in that and that this at least makes it a little more certain.

In connection with clause 82, as I have said, subclause (5) negates subclause (3), which imposes an obligation on the commission to make one of three decisions. Yet subclause (5) negates that, lets them off the hook and assumes that, for some reason, they will not do what they are required to do under subclause (3). To make it more certain, I am moving that subclause (5), which is a let-out clause, be deleted.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (11.54): Mr Speaker, let me address those two issues. I will ask that these two amendments be put separately. I do not have a great problem with what Mr Kaine proposes in respect of clause 30, because it puts into the legislation a general assumption that the period be 15 years. It is apparently the present policy of the commission to give licences of 15 years, and that is reflected in the bill.

If the commission is of the view that a shorter period is required of, say, 10 years, we will have to come back and amend the bill rather than make a determination, which is a bit more inconvenient. But I do not have a great problem with that, so that is not a matter that we will oppose.

I do have more of a problem with the amendment to clause 82. Mr Kaine points out that the commission is required to make a decision within 28 days. The clause also provides that, if a decision is not made within 28 days, the original decision is reaffirmed. The problem with his amendment is that it actually does not have any effect. If subclause (5) is taken out, it is most likely that the same effect will have been achieved-that is, if no decision is made within 28 days, the commission is in breach of the legislation, which it is anyway, and the original decision probably still has to stand.

This is not achieving what the sports bookmakers have actually asked for, which is that the original decision be revoked by virtue of there being a failure to make a decision within 28 days. The commission obviously has an obligation to do this within 28 days. If it does not, it is in breach of the act. One thing that flows from that is that a writ could be obtained in the court to force them to make a decision.

That is fair enough. The commission will have to deal with its own processes to make sure it makes a decision within 28 days. But the act ought to specify what happens in the very unlikely event that they do not make a decision in the 28 days. There needs to a default position, and I think the default position is as stated already under common law, in subclause (5). That would be my expectation.

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