Page 3172 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 18 August 2009

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I also have recommended that criminal liability be replaced by a more flexible system of civil penalties. The Environment Protection Authority could manage the system. Under this system we could have an issuing of clean-up notices, we could have pecuniary penalties in addition to the costs of restitution, we could have banning orders that would limit the future promotion opportunities for those who have breached the laws and there could be administrative repeals of decisions. You could potentially go to ACAT as well as a low-cost way of administering these issues. I would ask both sides of the Assembly to closely look at the committee’s report and the issues and recommendations in my dissenting report. The Greens do not propose to support the bill unless it is amended, preferably as I have proposed in my report.

In conclusion, I would like point out that whatever our views on bill posting are, we should remember that in fact bill posting is already illegal; so increasing and expanding the offences, or increasing the illegalness, should only be done with great care to make sure that we do not needlessly trample on some of our society’s most valuable rights.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.29): I rise to add my comments to the report of the Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services inquiry into the Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008. Firstly, I think it is important to note that there is no recommendation that the bill be passed. I think the omission of such a recommendation is important for the Assembly to reflect upon and that we should be careful before passing this bill in its current form. As I said earlier in this place, I think the bill is poorly drafted and vague legislation and, on that balance, may not actually enhance our city.

I believe that the bill has a disproportionate impact on some of the most vulnerable in our community and potentially unfairly targets people for harmless actions. In an extraordinary admission, the explanatory statement accompanying the bill talks about the applicability of provisions to community notices. In relation to lost pet notices, it says that a person affixing such notices on property without consent could still be prosecuted under sections 119 or 120 of the act.

The bill would also technically make it a crime for chalk hopscotch drawings to appear on paths and for small groups such as scouts to paint stencilled numbers on guttering outside residential properties. Whilst it might be unlikely that such children or groups would be prosecuted, it seems like heavy-handed tactics to me.

Whilst considering this bill, it has become clear to me and others in this place that this is another example of the Stanhope-Gallagher government’s “decide now, consult later” mentality. Instead of talking with businesses, community groups and others with an interest in bill posting, the Chief Minister rushed forward with vague legislation. I am glad the committee was able to do what the government refused to do.

Recommendation 6 of the report rebukes the government and requests the government to take a more serious approach to consultation. I find it amazing that TAMS undertook a telephone survey after the bill was introduced into the Assembly. You would think such research would be undertaken prior to government moving legislation. Again, it is a “decide now, consult later” mentality.

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