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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5230 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

industry consultation in the next week. The exposure draft will also support understanding and discussion of the bill. The regulations adopt the Australian explosives code. The code is a nationally agreed document prepared to provide a uniform basis for Commonwealth, state and territory legislation governing the transport of explosives and it complements the Australian dangerous goods code. The latter code is incorporated into the Commonwealth Road Transport Reform (Dangerous Goods) Act 1995 which currently applies to the transport of dangerous goods in the territory. The new regulations will bring the ACT into line with the generally agreed directions for regulatory reform in relation to explosives.

Fireworks are explosives and must be regulated as part of the explosives regulatory framework. In August this year I announced a number of measures that the government intended to take in relation to the regulation of fireworks. These included tough new control measures for the sale, possession and use of fireworks, the mitigation of noise and nuisance problems associated with the use of consumer fireworks and the notification and authorisation of public fireworks displays by administering authorities, and public notification, for example, through public notices, of approved displays.

These measures will be detailed in the exposure draft of the explosives regulations. The regulations will ban loud consumer fireworks and limit use to the hours between 5.00 pm and 10.00 pm on the three days of the Queen's Birthday weekend. There will be strict controls on the advertising and sale of fireworks throughout the year. Consumer fireworks will be available for sale for only one week in the period leading up to and including the June holiday weekend. In future, the display of fireworks for sale will be prohibited, with the exception of consumer fireworks during the Queen's Birthday sale period.

There will also be significant changes to controls on year-round sale and storage of fireworks. Fireworks for sale to professional fireworks display operators will be prohibited from being stored in retail premises in built-up areas. The regulations will prohibit the storage of fireworks and explosives generally in any place to which the public has access. This is essential from the perspective of public safety. As well, the general standards for the storage of fireworks will also be upgraded.

The new legislation will bring in tough penalties for illegal sale, possession and use of fireworks. It will make clear the government's resolve to clean up the firework problems that have plagued the Canberra community.

The Dangerous Substances Bill is part of this government's commitment to build a robust and modern body of work and safety legislation. The new dangerous substances legislative regime will establish the ACT as a national leader in this area of regulation. This regime is built on recognition of the serious harm to people, property and the environment that can result from accidents and misuse of these substances. Its implementation will give the public confidence that the hazards and risks associated with them can be appropriately controlled.

In conclusion, I thank officers in the Office of Industrial Relations and Parliamentary Counsel for their enormous effort in drafting this legislation and getting it ready to be tabled in the December sitting. It required an enormous amount of effort from all the staff involved. I thank them for their effort.

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