Page 1154 - Week 03 - Thursday, 31 March 2011

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1999. It is being moved to this act and located next to section 32, which contains similar driving status offences. The relocated offence will apply to any circumstances in which a person’s right to drive has been suspended by a territory law, including for non-payment of a traffic infringement notice or a court fine.

The bill also includes minor amendments to the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 to clarify that driver licence photos and signatures, which may be used for the purpose of the road transport legislation, may also be used for the purposes of the Dangerous Goods (Road Transport) Act 2009.

The bill will also amend the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 and the regulations made under that act to clarify police powers in relation to false, unlawful, cancelled or suspended driver licences and public vehicle driver authority cards. The regulations will provide for ways that specimen signatures may be given to compare with licence signatures to assist a police officer in determining whether the licence that was produced to the officer was lawfully held by the person in whose possession it was found.

The bill amends the provisions dealing with immediate suspension notices for drink-driving offences. The first of these amendments explains that an immediate licence suspension notice ceases to have effect when the Chief Police Officer or the Director of Public Prosecutions notifies the person that charges will not proceed.

While the act already provides that an immediate suspension notice ceases to have effect when a proceeding for an immediate suspension notice offence is withdrawn or dismissed, in practice several weeks may elapse between the time that prosecuting authorities decide that a charge ought to be withdrawn and the formal termination of the relevant proceedings by the court. This amendment enables the affected driver’s licence to be restored to them quickly once the prosecuting authorities decide to drop charges.

The second amendment requires the road transport authority to return licences to drivers as soon as practicable after the immediate licence suspension ceases. The effect is that drivers are not obliged to apply to the authority for the return of their licence when the suspension ends. The bill includes technical amendments to the provisions dealing with suspensions for non-payment of court fines, to provide for suspension of a person’s right to drive in the ACT.

The existing sanctions provide for disqualification of a person from holding or obtaining an ACT driver licence, but this sanction cannot be effectively enforced against interstate fine defaulters. The bill also omits the offence of driving while the right to drive was suspended from section 44(8). As I explained previously, this offence has been remade as a new section 31A of Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999.

Finally, part 6 of the bill contains amendments to section 30 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1999. These amendments clarify the power to seize stolen, forged or fraudulently altered number plates and registration documents and ensure

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