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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2201 ..

The flipside to these licence protections is that it may be harder for a person to get a liquor licence. There may be a person who has had a criminal past or some connections to criminality but is genuinely trying to operate legally in this business. It is a scenario one might imagine. But I think the balance proposed in the bill is acceptable. Importantly, the applicant can appeal decisions about their suitability assessment to ACAT for review. We see a situation where the protections are in place to protect the public when visiting licensed premises and in general as well as to try and prevent the furthering of criminal activities in the ACT. Similar suitability tests for these licences are also in place in other jurisdictions.

The commissioner already has to take into account a range of suitability factors. There is a level of discretion. This bill seeks to add further information so that the commissioner has a broader picture to take into account. This does not suddenly mean people will be put in a less disadvantageous position. In fact, it strengthens the hand of the commissioner. Equally, the protections of being able to appeal through the ACAT mean that the commissioner cannot make arbitrary decisions; he is limited by administrative decisions and decision-making processes and powers. That is why we have review of those, because they are bound to go through steps of natural justice of making fair and balanced decisions and the like. If they do that, they will be fine. If they breach that duty, the ACAT is able to reverse the decision.

This again strikes a suitable balance in a challenging area of policy. It is appropriate for ensuring that our liquor industry licence holders are suitable citizens for having such a significant responsibility. I will be supporting the change in this bill. I do not think it is a requirement to go to committee at this point. The points Mr Hanson has canvassed today have been addressed, some of them in the scrutiny report and some in the attorney’s response. We have just come back from an eight-week recess where there has been significant time to canvass these issues. To have them canvassed for the first time this morning is a surprising situation.

Question put:

That the motion be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mr Coe

Ms Lawder

Mr Barr

Mr Corbell

Mr Doszpot

Mr Smyth

Ms Berry

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Dunne

Mr Wall

Dr Bourke

Ms Porter

Mr Hanson

Ms Burch

Mr Rattenbury

Question so resolved in the negative.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (12.01): I would like to respond further to some of the issues raised in the debate today and I thank members for their comments on the bill. As I indicated when I introduced the bill,

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