Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3588 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
even a round table discussion between WorkCover and the retailers to gain some agreement on how to deal with the coming fireworks season. As I said, we saw the worst example of irresponsible fireworks use and the industry seemed to be happy to sell anything to anyone.
The points that have been made by a couple of speakers about illegal fireworks need to be elaborated, because what is clear is that the sale of illegal fireworks is directly related to the shopgoods and retail sale of fireworks. It is not as though all illegal fireworks sales are occurring out of the boots of cars, although there is some of that. However, the fact that we have the retail outlets means that inappropriate fireworks are being sold. It would be very interesting to see, if we actually stopped selling retail fireworks, whether or not government could then control the illegal sale of fireworks. Obviously, in that situation, you would have just reduced a whole supply, or changed the nature of that supply anyway.
I would not necessarily suggest in this place that any of the current retailers would engage in illegal sales of fireworks if there was a ban. However, I am prepared to say that there was certainly a very sloppy approach taken by the retailers to what they sold and how they complied with the regulations. I think we have all heard enough stories about that to know that that is the fact.
If there was a ban, if this legislation was amended so that it was acceptable to the Greens and it was actually successful, I am not ruling out the possibility of re-examining the regulated supply of fireworks to communities. However, because the response from government and the fireworks industry itself has been so appalling, I think it is important to take a really strong stand at this point and say, "No."Fireworks will obviously still be used by licensed pyrotechnicians and fireworks will still be available for displays for the community to see but, until the government can show that it can control illegal sales, we are not prepared to look at opening it up to retail sales again, because of that connection between retail sales and illegal sales.
Interestingly, the Greens had their own deliberation after the Legal Affairs Committee made its recommendations. The Greens did come up with a few more proposals, one of which was that there should be a limit on the explosive capacity and noise of fireworks. That is something that the government is actually talking about doing. I am interested to see that because I think that is quite a useful thing to progress, particularly with regard to the impact on animals, because the noise is often the issue.
Obviously, Mr Pratt's legislation will not be proceeding any further today, but I do encourage the government to do what it is doing. I am particularly interested in limiting explosive capacity and noise, and I look forward to working with the government on the issue.
MR STEFANIAK (11.27): In supporting Mr Pratt's bill I too hark back to the committee that I chaired and of which Ms Tucker and Mr Hargreaves were members. In fact, I think it is probably fair to say that Mr Hargreaves probably had more of a gut reaction to ban Ms Tucker and me! But what we ended up with at the time, after a lot of thought and discussion and very serious consideration of the evidence before us, was a reasonable proposal that the sale of over-the-counter shopgoods fireworks should be