Page 2376 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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act. The amendments are complementary to existing provisions of the act and expand the range of reasonable and appropriate enforcement actions that may be applied relative to the seriousness of a noncompliance incident.

This bill will introduce a new strict liability offence in the act for failure to submit a bore completion report to the EPA within a requested time frame. The bill introduces a new strict liability offence for undertaking waterway works without holding the required licence. It is intended to include these new strict liability offences in an infringement notice scheme subject to the agreement of the Attorney-General.

It is acknowledged that the use of strict liability offences engages the presumption of innocence because there are no fault elements to the offences. But these are minor environmental offences, and the purpose of the limitation to the right to presumption of innocence for these minor offences is to: deter noncompliance of failure to submit a bore completion report, deter noncompliance of unauthorised waterway work, avoid subjecting a person to the ordeal of criminal prosecution, and provide an appropriate small penalty or infringement notice fine that does not carry a criminal record. It is the least restrictive means available to achieve the purpose of the limitation, because current alternative offences in the act carry substantial penalties or, in the alternative, are inadequate.

The bill will clarify the definition of “ACT drillers licence” in the act to make it clear to interstate drillers that they require an ACT licence to drill bores in the ACT. The taking of water for roadworks, earthworks, construction and landscaping will be removed as an activity that is exempt from requiring a licence to take water in the regulation. This will result in this type of water-taking activity being subject to regulatory control, as are all other licensed water-taking activities.

Finally, the bill will introduce a new criminal offence for tampering with a water meter that is comparable to a meter tampering offence of the New South Wales Water Management Act 2000.

The amendments provide improved equity for existing licence holders by ensuring enforcement provisions apply to all licensed water-taking activity. The enforcement actions proposed by the amendments are similar to existing penalties and, like existing penalties, are reserved for occasions when the authority may issue a penalty in the public’s interests to protect the environment.

The bill ensures the ACT’s participation in important reforms to water resource management that see a consistent suite of enforcement laws implemented across all states and territories. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2)

Ms Burch, Pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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