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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 457 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

ACT government officials were involved in the ACT consultation. It involved a public forum and targeted consultation with industry, community and research groups. The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee has also conducted an inquiry, which included public hearings into the Commonwealth Gene Technology Bill 2000. The regulatory framework includes a licensing system for gene technology activities. It also involves national committees to allow for community consultation and expert technical and ethical advice.

It is proposed that enforcement and investigation powers in the bill will be provided to the Commonwealth Gene Technology Regulator. This will assist operation of the national framework and reduce the burden on the ACT. A national approach is important, as gene technology is a global issue. The bill seeks to promote a level playing field across Australia. Community confidence will be encouraged by the knowledge that gene technology is adequately regulated.

Mr Speaker, I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Wood , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and it explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (10.51): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the bill amends the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 in order to ensure that national principles associated with the suspension of drivers licences due to demerit points continue to apply in the ACT. The current provisions for demerit points contained in the act I mentioned have provided some ambiguity about when demerit points are incurred.

The principle adopted in the national driver licensing scheme is that demerit points are incurred on the day of the offence and not the day of some other event, such as when the infringement notice penalty is paid. This principle was also contained in the now repealed Motor Traffic Act 1936. This amendment bill makes it clear that demerit points are incurred for the day of the offence. This gives effect to the underlying principle of demerit points that an individual is only allowed to retain a drivers licence as long as that individual does not reach or exceed within a defined period the maximum allowed number of demerit points.

At the moment demerit points are most often recorded on the register on the day the infringement notice penalty is paid or when the court convicts a person of a demerit point offence. A further detail of the bill is that, if a person is allowed extra time to pay an infringement penalty, the demerit points are recorded on the register on the day the decision about the extra time is made, not when that extra time has ended. However,

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