Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3886 ..

MR CORNWELL (10.36): I move

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Litter, Mr Speaker, is a bane, I suppose, of our affluent society. It is untidy, it is unsightly, it is unnecessary and it is expensive. One aspect of the litter problem is, of course, the rubbish that is thrown from motor vehicles. There are people in society who apparently regard their vehicles as such pristine sanctuaries that they could not possible carry any of their litter or garbage home. It has to be removed from their vehicle as soon as possible and the easiest way to do this is to throw it out the window.

The problem, however, of dealing with these litterbugs was highlighted to me in a letter dated 29 April 2002 from the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood, in which he pointed out that under the current legislation, which is the Litter Act 1977, the driver of a motor vehicle, rather than the owner, is held responsible for any littering offence. The minister went on to say:

In the light of this is it difficult to successfully charge an offender unless the driver can be clearly identified and admits to committing the offence.

I was concerned about this issue. I wrote to the minister seeking a change in the law similar to that which applies to speeding tickets, namely, that the speeding ticket is issued in the name of the owner of the vehicle rather than the driver. I believe that the same practice could work with litterbugs. So instead of attempting to prosecute the driver of the vehicle for littering, the charge would be levied against the owner of the vehicle. As with speeding, I have no doubt that a vehicle owner who was not behind the wheel would rapidly establish who was and pass on the cost of the littering charge to the driver.

The minister was reasonably sympathetic and pointed out that an amendment to the Litter Act, which was expected to be introduced into the Assembly during the spring 2002 sittings, would give consideration to making the registered owner of the motor vehicle liable for the littering offence. Unfortunately, the amendments to the act did not come into this Assembly in the spring 2002 sittings.

In question No 335 I asked where the legislation might be, and Minister Wood replied on 15 November to the effect that the amendments to the Litter Act, which may consider what I had suggested, would be introduced it the autumn 2003 sitting period. This again did not happen.

I notice that amendment to the Litter Act is still not listed for consideration in the spring 2003 legislative program. I therefore decided, Mr Speaker, that I would introduce my own private member's bill in relation to this matter. I repeat that it is a simple amendment. It will simply make the owner of the vehicle, rather than the driver, liable for any littering offence that the vehicle is involved in. It is a simple amendment and I commend the bill to the house.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned to the next day of sitting.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .