Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2765 ..
weapon, I think that is still unduly restrictive. Whilst there are probably not many farms in the ACT where people do go and shoot, there are some. I cannot think of any instances to date, since 1996, when we have had our new legislation, where a young person has misused a weapon.
In New South Wales, young people are able to do exactly what my amendment states, and I believe that is the case in other states as well. So the bill, as it stands, is overly restrictive. The attorney’s amendment, whilst welcome, deals only with young people who are the sons or daughters of a rural farmer in the ACT. I do not see why we should be different from other states in this regard. There is no reason to further restrict the legitimate use by young people. Legitimate training is a very important part of learning how to properly handle a weapon, if you do handle it in a recreational hunting or shooting situation, or in a primary production or a vermin control type of situation.
Restricting it to just a parent or guardian is also being overly restrictive. Invariably, the practice here is for young people to go out with an older brother; usually it is probably the father, but often it can be an uncle. I have a brother-in-law who owns a rural property. Certainly, in the past he has gone shooting with nephews and the like and he is a very responsible person.
I just do not see the need for this bill to be so restrictive. Whilst I think the attorney’s amendment goes some way, my amendment is preferable. Mine is the one that members should support. Having said that, of course I can count. I would commend my amendment to the attorney if he has a late change of mind. Even with his improvement, it is still overly restrictive. I appreciate that he has heard from the rural lessees and that that is their main concern. It is quite legitimate and is totally covered by my amendment as well. I have also received concerns from the Sporting Shooters Association and several other people who are involved in recreational shooting and hunting. In fact, “women for hunting” came to see me several months ago. All those groups were keen to see the situation interstate applied here. Accordingly, I commend my amendment instead of the attorney’s.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.27): I want to speak briefly now; I assume we will have a chance to speak to Mr Stefaniak’s amendment in a moment. I am not going to support Mr Stefaniak’s amendment. I am not sure about this one, either. There is no doubt that the ACT is different from other states because any rural properties we have are not that far from urban environments, national parks or nature parks. I understand that my vote is not going to make a large difference. This is an issue on which there needs to be some discretion. I do not think it should be different according to where the rural property is located because it is the case that many are located in areas where people inadvertently may be, and bullets can escape into national parks. Those are my concerns about this amendment.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.28): I endorse everything that Mr Stefaniak said in his comments on this amendment. I think the amendment falls short in terms of dealing with all the situations that are important. I think it is very important, particularly for young people in rural environments, to learn about and respect the use of weapons. I was taught how to use firearms at the age of 12. I made sure I did not