Page 2237 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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The one I take issue with, and the one I can assure Dr Foskey will never happen as long as I draw breath, is the recommendation to expand it to include adults. The issue was discussed at the Australasian Police Ministers Council in Hobart, and at other times, and it was rejected by all of the states bar one. The offences against children are completely different to the offences against adults. It is conventional wisdom that people who perpetrate offences against children have an almost 100 per cent chance of recidivism and need to be treated completely differently. At this stage of the game, there is no successful treatment regime. With adults against adults it is different; it cannot happen. Furthermore, it would expand the register so far and so wide that it would be impossible to enforce with a priority for children, and children must be the priority. The other thing we need to talk about is the situation of juvenile to juvenile, and the theory from corrections that people do change, in terms of recidivism, and how that differs when you deal with juveniles and deal with adults.

I conclude by thanking all of those officers who had a contribution in the drafting of this legislation. I think this is a brilliant way forward. It is, as members have indicated, a step. I think it is a really big step, and we all seem to be united in trying to protect our kids. I commend this legislation to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Utilities (Shortage of Essential Services) Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resume from 5 May 2005, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (12.12): Mr Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide a head of power whereby the minister responsible for the legislation can make regulations in relation to the implementation of essential service restrictions in the ACT. The bill addresses shortcomings in the current act, which were that there were, in effect, no real emergency powers. I think we all remember 2003 and the bushfires. Given the worsening water situation, it is appropriate that these powers now be created.

Essentially, there are four areas that the bill covers. Firstly, it defines what is an essential service: the supply of electricity, gas or water. That is in proposed section 149A. What it then does is it empower the minister to make regulations that restrict the use of the essential service if there is a shortage. That is at proposed section 149B. The bill also gives inspection rights because, of course, you have to be able to work out whether people are breaching the emergency regulations.

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