Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 204 ..

MS TUCKER (11.17): The Greens are happy to support this motion. I think Mrs Cross has put up a sensible proposal. There has been confusion and controversy around the use of fireworks in the ACT for some time. I am quite prepared to say that I am confused about what needs to happen. I know that there are real issues about the use of fireworks. I have tabled in this place many petitions from the RSPCA and animal rights groups who are very upset about the impact on animals of the use of fireworks. I have also handled throughout the year a lot of complaints from members of the community about vandalism, the noise impact and so on. So there are obviously impacts on community.

I have also listened to people who are in the business and there seems to be a lot of confusion about how well the legislative framework and regulations are working. So basically I think referring this matter to a committee is a great idea. The committee will, on behalf of the Assembly, be able to have a good look at all the issues. Hopefully that will clarify things for people and we can make a decision that has been informed by that work.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.18): Mr Speaker, the government welcomes the motion from Mrs Cross to inquire into matters associated with the sale and use of fireworks in the ACT. I understand that over the course of the last three years there have been significant changes in the regulations for the sale and use of fireworks in the territory. The government believes that it is appropriate to take stock of the impact and effectiveness of these changes and I would hope that the inquiry is able to encompass that in its investigation.

Mr Speaker, I note, as an example, that, for the last two years since the introduction of permits to purchase and use fireworks during the Queen's Birthday long weekend, fewer that 1,600 permits have been issued each year. The advice I have received from the Commissioner for Occupational Health and Safety is that she has provided three reports to the former government on the conduct of the fireworks season. These reports were also made publicly available. Despite increasing regulatory control and enforcement action, I understand that there are still issues about the behaviour of the industry in the ACT.

The commissioner has also informed me that every weekend ACT WorkCover responds to complaints about the illegal use of fireworks and that ACT WorkCover has hundreds of complaints about the illegal sale and use of fireworks on its records.

In addition, interstate residents and/or other regulators frequently contact ACT WorkCover to complain about fireworks sourced from the ACT. More recently, a number of schools have complained that students have obtained fireworks by mail order, mobile phone and internet sales from ACT retailers. Also, Mr Speaker, I am informed that this week, as we debate this issue, the Chief Inspector of Dangerous Goods has given evidence in the court on matters relating to the sale of fireworks.

I would like to remind members that fireworks are explosives and if not properly used with appropriate safety measures in place, have the potential to cause serious injury to people and animals. When used maliciously, they have the ability, like any other explosive, to destroy property.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .