Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2319 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
We make recommendations in relation to safe storage of fireworks. We recommend three categories of events for which fireworks should be available. We recommend controls. We go into some detail in our suggestions in relation to how the new category of prearranged community events could be regulated.
It is in everyone's interest that the regulations and the act be cleaned up as a matter of urgency. It is not fair to WorkCover staff. It is not fair to the police. It is not fair to the fireworks industry. Given that there has been a fair bit of litigation, it is probably not fair to the courts. It behoves the government to ensure that the legislation is tidied up quickly.
I commend the need for on-the-spot fines and increased penalties. The government would be wise to look at what happens in New South Wales. In redrafting the act and the regulations, it should also look at substantially increasing penalties in other areas where necessary. New South Wales seems quite happy with the effect that their legislation has had. I commend that to the government. With good strong penalties and good clear legislation, everyone will know where they stand.
Again I thank my colleagues and everyone who assisted the committee in this difficult but important inquiry.
MR HARGREAVES (11.26): The views expressed by Mr Stefaniak were succinct. I want to put a couple of things on the record. The first is my appreciation of Ms Tucker and Mr Stefaniak, as I said in the debate on the previous report, because this was a very difficult issue. It was easier for Mr Stefaniak and me, both of us having had some exposure to explosives in the past, but Ms Tucker had none, I compliment her on trying to come to grips with a fairly technical exercise. I would like to pay tribute to myself for having the patience to go with her. I note Ms Tucker's smile. It is beautiful to behold.
This is a complicated issue. Naturally, we all have our preconceptions. One of my preconceptions is borne out of an experience in small business. Mr Smyth would know the proprietors of Ric and Vic's convenience store in Kambah. It was a very small business, like an IGA supermarket. Half the shop was blown away by shopgoods fireworks taped to the outside of the windows. The little thugs that did it inadvertently created a shape charge and blew the place to pieces. Had anybody been in the building, they would have been killed, such was the damage.
The proprietors suffered broken glass from fireworks for three weekends on the trot. I went there and had a look, and I got the police to come up with a special way of addressing the problem. Someone blew the telephone box outside to blazes. A pathway goes down the back of the nearby houses, which are on battleaxe blocks. Every single letterbox on that pathway, I think 13 in all, was blown to pieces. With that sort of exposure, I went into this inquiry with a bit of colour.
My pet cat had fireworks strapped to him, had kerosene poured on him and was set on fire. Smoke and flames were coming off him. Some thug decided to blow the cat up. Naturally, I brought this sort of thing to the inquiry, as we all did.
I also brought to the inquiry the thrill I have at Skyfire. The Tuggeranong Community Festival puts on fireworks displays for the community. I acknowledge Mr Upton in the gallery. He has provided those fireworks to our festival each year for a long time. I also