Page 927 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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Development with the power to set and enforce minimum standards based on national best practice principles. In particular, the bill will see the introduction of a facility classification system to better enable pool operators to be regulated based on the risk that they represent to the territory.

The bill will also bring the legislation into line with today’s community expectations. For instance, the 1956 act currently requires that each person involved in coaching or training at a pool facility be approved by the minister. The bill modernises these regulatory arrangements by removing this onerous process and replacing it with a statutory instrument that will specify the minimum qualifications, skills and training for all persons involved in the operation of territory pools.

Furthermore, the bill which I bring to the Assembly for debate today introduces an early intervention approach to managing possible antisocial behaviour. Currently, pool operators may only have a patron charged with a criminal offence when antisocial behaviour occurs. Under the Public Baths and Public Bathing Act 1956, the operators and their staff are also required to remove patrons, placing their safety and wellbeing at risk.

The bill seeks to rectify this rigid regulatory regime and bring it into step with today’s processes by introducing a proactive focus. The bill will allow operators to issue a warning to a patron and ask them to leave before they are removed by police or licensed security guards. This gives the patron an opportunity to correct their behaviour as opposed to issuing them with a long-lasting criminal penalty.

This approach improves safety in the workplace environment for operators and their employees by providing alternative mechanisms for patrons to be removed, while preventing an unnecessarily harsh punishment being placed on patrons who exhibit undesirable behaviour.

The bill will also reduce criminal sanctions and implement self-regulation principles so that pool operators can tailor their business to the needs of the market without reducing safety. This is another example of the way in which this government is reducing red tape to support innovation and provide flexibility to operators.

However, the safety and wellbeing of Canberrans remain paramount. The bill will allow the territory to intervene where necessary to protect the safety of our citizens, as the government may order the immediate closure or maintenance of a facility that is deemed unsafe for public use. This is to minimise the potential risks to public safety, as well as damage to property or the environment.

The regulatory framework is to be applied through the use of statutory instruments which clearly articulate the responsibilities and obligations for pool operators, the public and the territory.

In developing this bill, the government has consulted with territory-owned pool operators and will continue to do so as the changes are implemented. This is yet another example of the government’s commitment to fit-for-purpose policy that meets the needs of operators and upholds the objectives of community safety and wellbeing.

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