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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4451 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

COAG agreed to restrict the classes of legal handguns that can be imported or possessed for sporting purposes to those meeting recognised sporting shooter classifications in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and other accredited events.

COAG also agreed that handguns will be limited to a maximum of .38"calibre, except for specially accredited sporting events where handguns up to .45"calibre will be permitted. Details of handgun controls will be considered by Commonwealth, State and Territory authorities as a matter of urgency, with final arrangements to be agreed by COAG.

Acknowledging the importance of removing easily concealable handguns from the community, COAG agreed that semi-automatic handguns with a barrel length of less than 120mm and revolvers and single shot handguns with a barrel length of less than Comm will be prohibited. Highly specialised target pistols, some of which will have a barrel length of less than 120mm will be allowed. These types of pistols are large, visually distinctive and not readily concealable due to their overall size.

COAG also agreed that reducing the number of handguns held legally in the community should be accompanied by a compensation scheme for licensees who are compelled to hand in handguns. This compensation scheme will operate from 1 July 2003 until 1 January 2004. The cost of funding the compensation scheme will be funded firstly from the $15 million remaining from the 1996 firearms buy-back and then shared on a two-thirds: one-third basis between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories, on the basis of handguns prohibited and returned in each jurisdiction.

COAG agreed that an amnesty will be in force from 1 July 2003 until 1 January 2004 during which time owners of illegally held handguns can surrender those weapons to authorities without incurring a criminal penalty.

COAG also agreed that the States and Territories would introduce necessary legislation as a priority and there will be ongoing consultation between Police Ministers on arrangements for the buy-back and amnesty. Progress on both legislation and arrangements will be followed up at the next meeting of COAG.

The ACT Government will be amending the Firearms Act 1996 to give effect to the proposals agreed by COAG.

COAG also noted the key recommendations of the Law of Negligence Review by Justice Top, and endorsed a forward work program developed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers. This program will include continuing work on pursuing effective damages regimes, and examining the economic impacts of mechanisms for addressing professional liability, including proportionate liability, caps on liability and professional standards legislation. National consistency will be sought where possible, in relation to tort reform initiatives surrounding liability for personal injury or death resulting from negligence.

Professional indemnity reforms will be further considered by Commonwealth, State and Territory Treasurers at their April 2003 meeting, with a subsequent report on outcomes to the next COAG meeting.

COAG agreed to establish a Taskforce, comprising officials from Treasuries and Health portfolios, to undertake a comprehensive review of current and possible alternative arrangements in relation to long-term care for catastrophically injured

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