Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3593 ..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
problem so that the majority of Canberrans can enjoy one week a year with the traditional activity of letting off fireworks that are pretty as well as those that make a noise. Let us just lower the noise factor. Do not tighten everything so that the wowsers win. Let people do things that are different, have different experiences and show their children things that they enjoyed as kids. With appropriate regulations and the enforcement of them, we can do this safely and take into account the disturbance factor.
As I stated earlier, I am encouraged by this minister, Katy Gallagher, who has approached this issue in a practical manner and is not into banning fun. I welcome the fact that she is not into prohibition. She and I know that prohibition is not as effective as proper regulation and enforcement. I am concerned, in this instance, that the opposition used Parliamentary Counsel's resources and time to draft this bill instead of discussing the minister's proposed bill, which was discussed in this chamber by the former minister last year and again by this minister earlier this year. I understand from the minister that the opposition did not discuss her proposed legislation or seek to negotiate any sort of compromise or middle ground-something for which the minister Mr Corbell was criticised yesterday on another matter.
Instead of-just to be contrary-wasting Parliamentary Counsel's resources in drafting another bill, it is important that we look at what has been tabled or is being worked on at the moment. The minister's intention to address the fireworks issue via the government's proposed legislation seems sensible at this stage. Although I have not seen the legislation in its entirety, my conversations with the minister lead me to feel that this will be handled sensibly.
This is fortunately not a conscience issue. However, the number of emails, letters and calls my office has received on this issue have been fairly equal. From my conversations with the community it seems that the majority of people do not have a problem with fireworks and certainly do not feel that a ban is the answer. Most of the people that I have spoken to in the community-all parts of the community, in addition to the multicultural community-believe that enforcement and better regulations are the way to go. Indeed, some people have commented that some people in this place have personalised this issue and used their position to enforce what is perhaps an unreasonable approach. Prohibition does not work; regulation and enforcement do. I am looking forward to working with the minister on the government's legislation.
MR PRATT (11.47), in reply: May I wrap up the debate, please, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: If you wish.
MR PRATT: Governments were originally established to listen to their constituents-the community-and to make efficient and effective change that would benefit the majority of the community. The Liberal opposition have listened to their constituents, who believe that the banning of shopgoods fireworks would benefit the majority of the community. The proposed legislation that we are debating here today is believed to be the efficient and effective change that is needed.
A barrage of complaints from the community has fallen upon successive governments regarding the disruption to the community and the acts of vandalism caused by fireworks. Some of these are legally sold and some illegally acquired. Over the past