Page 1337 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 April 2013
hold a prescribed card. The director-general has discretion to allow a person to take part in an approved community work or social development program.
We hope this scheme will not be abused either by people who see this as an easy way out or by people who simply have no intention whatsoever of actually fulfilling their commitment, their responsibility, to undertake what is, in effect, their community order.
The bill does not alter the application process for a waiver of a penalty. The criteria for granting a waiver also remain the same. If a person fails to comply with the infringement notice management plan, the person’s licence may be suspended after they have received a suspension notice.
At the moment we do not know how many people will choose to take up the option of an infringement management plan to pay for their fines, but we hope the appropriate systems are in place to deal with the demand, whatever it turns out to be. If the systems are not in place or if they get abused, then we will be back in this place discussing an amendment moved by the opposition.
The provisions dealing with the minimum suspension period for those convicted of driving while suspended are new amendments. While we may argue about whether these periods are appropriate, it is pleasing to see that the court retains discretion over the period of disqualification. We hope the courts will be able to use the new minimum periods where they are appropriate while also ensuring that the disqualifications are a sufficient deterrent to those who break the law.
The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this legislation, but I would like to reiterate our concern that this bill was required in order to implement the concept of infringement notice management plans. It is important that we as legislators develop clear and workable legislation rather than legislation which deals only with policy and cannot be implemented. As I said last year, I do not believe we are demonstrating good government as a legislature by discharging so many details and decisions to the public service.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.37): The Greens are pleased to support the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill. This is a bill that makes minor amendments to a scheme introduced by the Greens last year, and that scheme brought a new system to the ACT for the payment of traffic infringement notices, one that takes into account the circumstances of disadvantaged people. In February 2012 former Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan introduced these changes through the Road Transport (General) (Infringement Notices) Amendment Bill 2012. The bill was passed in May last year with agreement from the Greens and the ACT Labor MLAs.
The amendments in the Greens bill improved social justice outcomes in the ACT by ensuring that our system of traffic infringement administration considers the circumstances of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. It had become very clear that the existing system was inflexible and its application could result in harsh and unjust outcomes. The Greens’ legislation had the strong support of peak ACT community groups who praised the changes as a practical way to help disadvantaged people from