Page 157 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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there is an unpaid fee or fine, don’t you sool the coppers off to Brisbane or to Perth to pick up a parking fine defaulter?” Well, the answer is quite simple.

Mr Mulcahy: There is a cheaper way than that.

MR STANHOPE: The answer is quite simple, and it is the answer, of course, that your previous party gave when in government. It is an issue of resources and priorities and expenditure. The amount of money required to recover a million dollars in interstate, non-paid fines is far more than the million dollars that you are trying to pursue. It is difficult always in government, in relation to law and order issues or the responsibilities of each of us under the law to obey the law and for the law to be applied vigorously, to say that every now and again police forces and governments take a decision that is simply not cost effective to pursue a million dollars in unpaid parking fines at the risk of taking serving police officers off other duties. The inherent costs simply do not justify the action.

That is the answer which your previous party gave in government. It is an answer that remains valid today.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy?

MR MULCAHY: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Treasurer. Treasurer, has your government considered, however, the impact of interstate motorists being able to operate with virtual impunity in terms of ACT road safety? What is the state of discussions with other jurisdictions on this problem?

MR STANHOPE: As I said, we expect as a jurisdiction and as a community that those that visit this place from elsewhere will obey the laws that apply in the ACT. To the extent that they transgress and the law is brought to bear—for instance, through an on-the-spot fine, a parking ticket or some other traffic infringement notice issued by ACT Policing—we expect those people to meet their obligations under the law. To the extent that they do not meet their obligations under the law, we, of course, pursue the matter within a reasonable framework.

To the extent that they come back to this jurisdiction and are detected again or come to the notice of the law, we would expect the full force of the law to apply. But some reasonableness, some practicality and some pragmatism must be brought even to issues around the enforcement of the law. That is the position that we have adopted as a jurisdiction and it is consistent with the position adopted by all other jurisdictions and all other police forces around Australia. Certainly it is disappointing and certainly it is frustrating, but it is reasonable.

You have asked a more specific question, the answer to which I do not know. I am more than happy to take that aspect of your question on notice, Mr Mulcahy, and provide you with the detail of other jurisdictions’ responses to these issues and the potentiality for the ACT perhaps to take a different and more productive approach. I will have to take that part of your question on notice.

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