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Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Page: 3200

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (9:31 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Airports (On-Airport Activities Administration) Validation Bill 2010 will validate potentially invalid infringement notices and other matters done by persons not validly authorised under the Airports (Control of On-Airport Activities) Regulations 1997 in relation to certain activities at the following Commonwealth leased airports: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Archerfield, Bankstown, Brisbane, Camden, Canberra, Darwin, Essendon, Gold Coast, Hobart, Jandakot, Launceston, Melbourne (Tullamarine), Moorabbin, Mount Isa, Parafield, Perth, Sydney (Kingsford-Smith), Tennant Creek and Townsville.

Under the Airports (Control of On-Airport Activities) Regulations, authorised persons, who must be appointed by the secretary of the department or the secretary’s delegate, are empowered to issue infringement notices for contraventions of certain rules relating to the airport including parking infringement notices.

In addition, authorised persons may perform certain other actions and exercise certain other powers. For example, under regulation 110, an authorised person for an airport may direct a driver of a vehicle used at the airport in contravention of a parking control to move the vehicle.

Following an examination of parking infringement notices issued at certain airports and other authorisations recently, it has become apparent that the appointment of authorised persons at a number of airports has not been kept up to date, going as far back as 2004. In some cases, this was due to the administrative oversight by the department and, in some cases, that of the airports. As a consequence, parking infringement notices issued and other actions performed by persons without a valid authorisation may be invalid and of no legal effect.

Payment of a parking infringement notice provides a person with immunity from prosecution for an alleged offence at the relevant airport. This significantly reduces the potential penalty which a driver may be required to pay for committing the parking offence. A driver may face a penalty five times the amount of the parking infringement notice should the matter be taken to court and the driver found to have committed the offence.

This legislation will confirm immunity from prosecution from the relevant offences of persons who received the infringement notices and paid the corresponding amount. It is therefore important for the government to act quickly to bring forward this legislation.

The bill will validate all actions performed and powers exercised under the regulations, including the issuance of parking infringement notices, at any current or former leased federal airport up until the bill commences, to the extent that those actions or powers were performed or exercised by persons not validly authorised.

The bill will provide the necessary legal certainty that each parking infringement notice and relevant other action are valid and legally effective.

On my instruction, the department took immediate steps to address this oversight prospectively, by seeking advice from each airport and appointing as authorised persons the appropriate persons at each airport.

The department is undertaking a full review of all processes and procedures relating to its administration of the Parking Infringement Notices Scheme and the regulations more broadly in order to meet the standard required by the government.

The authorisations are now all up to date and all parking infringement notices issued since 25 March of this year are valid. In the interim, this legislation is required to address the uncertainty about the validity of parking infringement notices issued prior to 25 March. I commend this bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Andrews) adjourned.