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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3962 ..


Clauses 80 to 102, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Proposed new clause 102A.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.01): Pursuant to standing order 182A(c), I seek leave to move an amendment to this bill as it is in response to a comment made by the scrutiny committee.

Leave granted.

MS LE COUTEUR: I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 4007], which inserts new clause 102A. I foreshadowed that I was going to move this amendment in my speech at the in-principle stage. It is a very straightforward clause. It is a review clause suggesting that as soon as practicable after three years of operation of these amendments, the amendments and their impact be reviewed. The review clause is something which we should probably have in most substantive changes to legislation. I am pleased that some of the changes here are substantive. I am also a little concerned, as I mentioned earlier, about some of the strict liability offences. From both points of view, I think this is a good idea. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for City Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction, Minister for Roads and Active Travel and Minister for Transport) (12.02): Ms Le Couteur’s amendment would require a review of the operation of the amendments after three years of the commencement of the act. The government is happy to support the amendment.

I note that there are a large number of strict liability offences within the existing act and in this bill, as there are in many acts across the ACT in various different areas. It is very rare for the scrutiny committee—I have been a member of that committee—to not make a comment in relation to strict liability offences that come up in legislation from time to time.

In this case, those strict liability offences have been justified. They are particularly applied for low-level offences. That is critical in ensuring the enforceability of the legislation. Ms Le Couteur mentioned in her speech in the in-principle stage that she was concerned about the enforceability of the act. Strict liability offences are critical to enabling particularly the RSPCA to administer and enforce our animal welfare legislation.

We will certainly look at that as part of the review. However, I would suggest that if there is an ideological objection to strict liability offences in general, the scrutiny committee may be a more appropriate place for review to be undertaken so that it can look at strict liability offences across the board and not necessarily just in the Animal Welfare Act, where their role is absolutely integral.

Amendment agreed to.


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