Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 301 ..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
The bill is a welcome addition to the regulatory regime for an industry which is, as I said, long overdue for regulation. Since 1998 it has been unlawful to work within the industry without registration under one of five codes of practice supported by the Fair Trading Act 1992.
The national competition policy review of the ACT security industry recommended that the ACT consider the adoption of a regulated licensing model for the ACT security industry. The national competition policy review also noted the urgent need for training and development of competencies in the industry.
The stated objectives of the proposed legislation are: to enhance compliance activities, primarily through the introduction of offences, including for unlicensed principals and employees in the industry; to bring the ACT into line with other Australian jurisdictions; to clearly outline and monitor standards; to impose mandatory training; to clarify the provisions for dealing with breaches of standards; and to prevent persons from commencing employment prior to the outcome of a criminal record check.
Given the vulnerability that we as a civilised society are subject to at present with global terrorism and other things, I welcome this initiative. It will attract my support in the Assembly. I commend the Chief Minister for bringing this bill to the Assembly.
MS MacDONALD (12.07): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak briefly on this measure. I also commend the Attorney-General for having introduced this bill. Some people may be aware of one of my previous roles, which was the executive director of the Business Training Advisory Board for the ACT. In that role I provided advice on vocational education and training to both government and business organisations.
The security industry was part of my bailiwick because not only did we cover business but we also covered property services, which includes the security industry. At the beginning of 2000, just after I had started in that the job, I sought a meeting with members of the security industry and Mr Humphries, who was the then minister responsible for this area. We raised the issue of licensing people within the security industry and especially, from our perspective, the necessity to have people within the security industry adequately trained. At that time we were seeking to ensure that in order to get a licence you had to be adequately trained; that training would be tied to getting a licence. I am happy to see that this bill contains such a provision.
As we all know, we are an island within the state of New South Wales and there are a number of issues where cross-border issues cause complications, and the security industry is only one of them. Certainly at that time we had to confront issues. For example, security guards from the ACT could not work at a street party held in Queanbeyan if they did not have an additional licence, even though a lot of them met the requirements to hold such a licence. At that stage there was not that much required of a person to get a licence.
It is good to see that this legislation has been finally introduced. As I said, I went to see Mr Humphries at the beginning of 2000. He had had representations from my organisation in 1999 and nothing happened. Here we are at the beginning of 2003, three years later, and the legislation is finally coming into place. New South Wales is to review its legislation and, of course, we in the ACT will be watching what they do.