Page 1202 - Week 03 - Thursday, 31 March 2011

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MS BURCH: I would expect that a number of correspondence and phone calls are coming through each and every one of our offices. What we need to do with many of those is to explore them further, to seek further information, and that is what the staff member has sought to do. It is not an unreasonable notion for a staff member to explore and to get further information. I do not see anything remarkable in that.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, have you been let down by your staff in your office?

MS BURCH: I do not believe so, Mr Speaker.


MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Attorney-General. Minister, a significant suite of changes to the ACT’s liquor laws came into effect on 1 December 2010. Can you please inform the Assembly on what differences the new laws are having in the community and what changes they are making to the drinking culture in the ACT?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. As members would doubtless be aware, the new Liquor Act commenced on 1 December last year—the first and most significant reform to our liquor laws since self-government. As a result of those laws, we have now seen just over three months of operation of them. During that period we have seen a marked decrease in the number of arrests occurring in the city, and indeed across Canberra, as a result, at least in part, of these new laws.

I was very pleased to confirm with ACT Policing that over the 2010-11 summer period, the first three months of the operation of the new laws, we saw a 27 per cent reduction in the number of alcohol-related arrests occurring in our city. That is a very pleasing outcome. A total of 259 intoxicated persons were lodged in custody from 1 December to the end of February, compared with 400 in the same period in the previous year. That is a very pleasing outcome.

Additionally, of course, the statistics are showing us that there has been a 35 per cent reduction in the number of intoxicated persons lodged in custody during the recent three-month period compared to the same three months last year. That is, of course, people who are taken into protective custody because they are intoxicated in a public place and are unable to look after themselves.

The fact that we are seeing fewer arrests relating to alcohol-related crime and the fact that we are seeing fewer people having to be taken into protective custody because they have consumed too much alcohol is a very pleasing event. Of course, this has happened because we have new laws that put in place greater responsibility on all the participants in the alcohol market—those that sell alcohol as well as those who consume it. It also means new laws for the police, new powers for the police, to deal with alcohol-related matters and, of course, a new dedicated alcohol crime targeting

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