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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2310 ..



I am concerned about animal welfare as well. There are hundreds of stories of pets which have had a terrible time. It is bad enough that they have a rough time over the Queen's birthday weekend. However, when it goes on week-in and week-out in the period around the Queen's birthday weekend, it seems that an irresponsible minority is spoiling it for the majority. That is the approach we take on this.

I hate to say this because I do not have evidence, but I will raise the matter in this place. There are questions that there is criminal behaviour involved in the illegal trafficking of fireworks, which is of major concern. There are certain gangs in the region-they do not necessarily live here in the ACT-who, it is well known, are trafficking in other items and who are also happily trafficking in fireworks.

It has even been said to me that the trading of fireworks is used as a cover to conceal and traffic these other items. I will not say any more than that right now, but it is an issue I raise here that I think we, as an Assembly, need to look at seriously. We certainly need to get more evidence on that before I would say much more about it, but it is an issue.

Clearly, the strain has shown on the police over the past four to five weeks. There have been hundreds of calls to police saying, "For God's sake, can somebody come and arrest the guy who put this letterbox through my front window?"The police say they cannot go out, because they have to catch them on the spot.

This has meant unnecessary call-outs at a time when our police need to be focused on other issues, given the national and international environment in which the ACT finds itself. So I urge the government to look at this. We will have a lot more to say about the issue. We certainly want to consider introducing legislation. We will come back to that in good time.

A lot of what the government has in the budget for this area is fine. Nevertheless, in summary, I urge the government to look at putting more resources into OH&S compliance checks.

I do not think we should take for granted that all of our organisations-public as well as private-are as well educated as they ought to be and practising all the standards that should be practised with OH&S. There is a great deal of anecdotal information that people are still in the dark about how best to manage safety issues, and much more needs to be done. I have talked about fireworks and other matters.


(Leader of the Opposition) (4.31): When the committee heard from officers of WorkCover, it was amazed to learn that not only had $465,000 had been spent on the destruction of fireworks over this year-and in the proposed new budget-but that fireworks had cost us, as a jurisdiction, something like $1.8 million over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 budgets. That is what it has and will cost, which is a matter of great concern. It is an enormous amount of money-it is money that would be better spent on things other than regulation.

A number of difficulties arise out of the fireworks issue. As the former minister responsible for fireworks, in 1998, in my attempt to do something with the system, I

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