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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3691 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

amendments. Burnout legislation was then passed by this Assembly in December 1999 and incorporated into the then Motor Traffic Act 1936. The legislation has been very effective as a deterrent and in the few seizures that have taken place.

The matter was put before the Assembly for a second time in February 2000 to enable the provisions passed in December 1999 to be incorporated into the new road transport legislation. This legislation was due to commence and did commence on 1 March 2000. In that instance the amendment bill was again put forward by Mr Rugendyke, and again the government supported the proposal.

The burnout provisions, including those providing for the seizure of vehicles, were passed for the second time by the Assembly. Unfortunately, amendments put forward by Mr Hargreaves to the government's road rage bill in May 2001 omitted the vehicle seizure provisions as they applied to burnouts and street racing offences. This was despite the recognised success of the provisions, with the police noting a reduction in burnout activities due to the threat of immediate seizure of vehicles used in the commission of burnout activities. Mr Rugendyke's bill reinstates provisions that were passed by the Assembly twice prior to their omission in May 2001.

During the period the vehicle seizure powers were in place, they were used with appropriate discretion, with 16 vehicles being seized over a 16-month period-one a month. The impounding vehicle provisions proved very effective in deterring burnout activities, and they are essential elements of the overall package of burnout legislation.

With the vehicle seizure provisions, persons who wish to engage in prohibited behaviour are very aware of the possibility of losing their vehicle and are strongly discouraged from prohibited areas. Allowing a police officer to remove a vehicle from the offender immediately addresses safety and other hazards caused by activities such as burnouts and racing.

The ACT police consider that the burnout problem is returning to its previous level as anti-social drivers now realise that the vehicle seizure threat has been removed. The number of complaints from members of the public and the presence of new black tyre marks at Canberra intersections suggest that burnout activity is once again becoming a problem.

The government strongly supports the reinstatement of the provisions giving the police powers to seize a vehicle used in a burnout or street racing offence. The provisions that provide protections for people affected by vehicle seizure-sections 10C, 10D, 10F and 10G-also need to be reinstated to ensure these protections continue to apply if a vehicle is seized by a police officer. Similarly, section 10I is to be amended to include a reference to vehicles seized by the police under section 10B (1) (a). This will ensure that a proceeding cannot be brought against the territory or the police if a vehicle is impounded under section 10B (1) (a).

The government is in favour of this bill. We have voted for these provisions three times. We have been successful twice. I hope we are successful again tonight, because this bill will make our streets safer.

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