Page 3323 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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Legal Affairs—Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)—Scrutiny Report 16, dated 19 September 2005, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: Scrutiny report 16 contains the committee’s comments on four bills, 17 pieces of subordinate legislation and 16 government responses. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Litter Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 30 June 2005, on motion by Mr Hargreaves:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.36): In the June sittings this year, the urban services minister, John Hargreaves, tabled the Litter Amendment Bill 2005. This makes a number of changes to the Litter Act—I will refer to it as “the act” hereafter—and its regulations, which came into effect in 2004. As the minister explained in June, currently under the act a range of penalties are applicable to a range of littering offences, and the power of enforcement has been given to the relevant authorities under the act to exercise the powers of litter enforcement under the said act.

The opposition will certainly support this amendment bill, although we will seek to introduce a minor amendment. The current amendment has now been tabled by the minister to correct an oversight in the original act. The oversight meant that, previously, not all littering offenders were required to produce identification on demand by authorised enforcers of the act—namely city rangers—and only those offenders who are “occupiers of premises” were required to produce identification on demand.

It is interesting that this oversight only came to light after a significant number of fines had been issued for charity bin dumping. The oversight meant that anyone on the street caught for littering, including charity bin dumpers, could not be fined if they refused to give their details. I wonder whether that means that the fines that have already been issued since the act came into effect in 2004, such as for charity bin dumping, or any other litter offence committed by someone on the street, are now null and void. I would not think so but it is just a question I ask. Perhaps the minister could clarify that that will not be the case. He is nodding that that will not be the case, which is very encouraging to see.

I doubt whether someone caught for littering would say, “You’ve caught me; no worries. Take my name and address so you can fine me.” Now that we have seen that oversight fixed, I think the government will be in a better position to be able to execute the legislation we have in place. I am sure the city rangers would have asked the person for their ID, in any case. The minister is amending the act at section 17 to correct that

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