Page 263 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012

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current permit and approval systems facilitating the use of public unleased land, it will also help to ensure that the amenity and natural value of public spaces is not diminished.

Other amendments proposed to the permit system by the Public Unleased Land Bill include increased discretion for a decision maker to refuse to renew a permit—for example, where public safety concerns have arisen during the permit period—and updated enforcement powers for authorised officers.

The bill also creates the capacity for the territory to seek financial assurance in the form of a bond from permit holders, in order to mitigate any potential damage to public land. It is anticipated that these will only be required for larger events and importantly they should not impact on the ability of charities and other community based organisations to hold events on public land. As I said earlier, one of the objects of the bill is to encourage the use of public land.

In reintroducing this bill some small changes have been made from the 2011 version to address some concerns raised by the scrutiny of bills committee. The changes are relatively minor but do address some important concerns about the scope of various provisions and the nature of the powers delegated to decision makers. The changes also clarify that the territory is liable for damage when private land is used to build a temporary public road and makes some further decisions open to review by the administrative tribunal, ACAT.

One area of concern was the scope of the definition concerning the use of public land. It is important to stress that this bill is about the effective regulation of public land to ensure that everyone has access to a safe and amenable environment and that we have a scheme in place that encourages people to use public land and enjoy public places across the city.

To address this concern a disallowable instrument making power has been included so that the scope of “use” can be clarified should the need arise.

The Public Unleased Land Bill seeks to ensure a practical and orderly approach to the issuing of permits while maintaining the rights of the community to use public spaces. I am confident that this reintroduced bill will ensure a modern and effective regulatory system for dealing with the many uses of public unleased land demanded by the ACT community. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Amendment Bill 2012 (No 2)

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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