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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2320 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

give him credit for his technical knowledge. He keeps abreast of the industry. He assisted the committee quite significantly. One festival when I had some concerns, Mr Upton showed me what was going on. He showed me the electronics involved. He showed me the safety features and the way the canisters were laid out to make sure everything was safe. He insisted emergency services be present in the case of fallout on dry grass in the vicinity.

The last thing in the world I want to see is the removal of such community events. Skyfire is a dramatic one, but there are smaller ones. Fireworks are put into the sky over Lanyon homestead. That is a bushfire waiting to happen, but it is managed. I do not want to see that go-never have.

I went to Chinese New Year celebrations at Lakeview House put on by the Chinese-Malay community, and I was frightened to death when the big string of crackers went off. It would be terrible if we took that event away.

As Mr Stefaniak said, responsible sections of the community are prepared to come together and have a person with all the knowledge, as they say of London cabbies, responsible for safety.

I want to take access to fireworks away from people who use them inappropriately because they do not know what they are doing or because they are deliberately intent on doing mischief. I do not want fireworks available to those people, and never have. I have made no secret of that from the beginning.

As I said to Mr Davey when he came to my office, I have an open mind about this. I made him aware of the preference I had going into the inquiry, so it would not have been news to him. In the course of the inquiry my thoughts crystallised. I did not have just one approach. I started approaching the matter from three perspectives. This report is a good compromise. With at total ban at one end of the scale and open slather at the other, it is great middle ground.

The fines we recommend will be a very serious deterrent to people using fireworks with mischievous intent. They will send a message to such people that it is just not on. But our recommendations will also allow responsible members of the community to come together on a bit of vacant land and have a bonfire that everybody is happy with it and everybody knows about so there is sufficient notice for people like the RSPCA to gear up. One thing that blew me out of the water-no pun intended-was that the pound was closed on that day. That is absolutely disgraceful, when everybody in this town knows that when fireworks are going off dogs will be running everywhere. I was a bit cranky about that, but we will worry about that another day.

This is a sensible set of recommendations. They would not close the industry down. All of the efforts on the part of the fireworks industry to derail the process and to besmirch me were in vain. When they read this report, they will see that it does not even go close. I commend the report.

It behoves me to comment on the effect media articles have on the families of people in the industry. I know this is an area of particular concern to Mr Stefaniak and Ms Tucker. I want to say on the public record that any suggestion that the families of people

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