Page 3588 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 25 August 2009

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require organisations promoting an event to ensure that the event is promoted cleanly by taking appropriate precautions to ensure bills, posters and placards are not affixed illegally to public or private premises.

The bill also proposes to make bill posting a strict liability offence, to allow for infringement notices to be issued where an illegal billposter is caught in the act, instead of the matter proceeding to court. On 10 February 2009, the Assembly agreed that the bill would be referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services for inquiry and report to the Assembly by the first sitting day in August 2009.

The government thanks the committee for its work in relation to the bill and acknowledges the individuals and organisations who provided submissions to the committee. Their contributions to the debate and the bill are valued.

The committee report identifies some interesting issues, primarily to do with ensuring there is adequate provision of bill posting silos and there is adequate public notification to ensure billposters are informed about the changes that affect them. These recommendations are, coincidentally, in line with the government’s thinking and intentions in relation to the bill. The government has already committed funding for the construction of a significant number of new bill posting silos in shopping centres where illegal bill posting has been a problem. The government is also committed to adequately informing the community when changes to the legislation are introduced.

Committees provide a critical forum through which our elected members can scrutinise, digest and comment on the government’s work on behalf of our community. The strenuous intellectual work of committee members should not be underestimated, nor should the degree of support committees receive from the public service who assist with the presentation of the government’s case and answer queries. On top of this is the effort put into public submissions and the work of the committee secretariat in the Assembly.

There is often significant debate in the committee room, as we all know. The result in the best of worlds is agreement and consensus between members. In the present case, the government’s representative, Mary Porter, and the Liberal’s representative, Alistair Coe, were able to agree in the committee room on the recommendations that are included in the report. The committee’s recommendations were intended to highlight any issues with the legislation, areas where the committee believes more work is required, where the committee might disagree with the direction or where the committee believes an approach should be scrapped.

I have tabled the government’s considered response to the committee’s report, which agrees with four of the committee’s seven recommendations, agrees in principle to two recommendations and notes the remaining recommendation. It is unfortunate that we witnessed, and Alistair Coe has stated in the Assembly, something of an about-face on the spirit of the recommendations made in the committee report. These are recommendations, one must assume, that he agreed to in the committee room, because he actually signed the committee report. It is unfortunate, not least because it highlights Mr Coe’s apparent inability to grasp the basic amendments to the law.

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