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Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019



Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019

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Tabled paper 1423


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Tony Sievers


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Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 30 within the possession of the criminal entity. This would not achieve the intention of the scheme to reduce firearm related violence within our communities. In such a situation, it is not the case that giving a written direction under (a) or (b) would not be practicable. Rather, complying with (a) or (b) would be contrary to the intention of the discretion.44 Committees Comments 3.59 The Committee notes that the overall intention of the Bill is to reduce firearm related violence within the community and considers that the discretion provided to the Commissioner by ss(2)(c) is warranted. Delegation of Commissioners powers 3.60 The Bill does not amend s 5 of the Firearms Act 1997 which sets out delegation powers. Under the Act, the Commissioner may delegate any of their powers and functions under the Act to a police officer or a public sector employee, except in specific circumstances under sections 10(8A), 33(3A) or 40A(1) none of which relate to FPOs. 3.61 Under the Victorian Firearms Act 1996 powers in relation to FPOs can only be delegated to police officers at superintendent level or above and executive level public servants (s 112F). This level of delegation helps to ensure that the right balance is achieved between providing police with the operational capacity to act promptly while also ensuring sufficient oversight of powers in relation to FPOs. This viewpoint was affirmed during recent public hearings for a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into FPO legislation, with Ms Walker from the Law Institute of Victoria noting that: I think it should always be the higher rank who are making decisions to make these orders, as delegated by the commissioner if they are representing the commissioner. I do not think that it should be at a detective level. I do not think it should be a sergeant level at all. 45 3.62 The Committee sought clarification from NTPOL as to why such a broad power of delegation has been deemed appropriate in relation to FPOs and was advised that while s 5 would technically: allow the Commissioner to delegate a power to a low ranking police officer or public sector employee, in practice this has not happened and will not happen. Because this flexibility has worked for other powers under this Act, NTPOL believes that the broad ability to delegate is equally appropriate for Part 8A. The intention of NTPOL is that the power to issue firearm prohibition orders will be delegated to the rank of Superintendent. This will be formalised by instrument and promulgated. 44 Northern Territory Police Force, Responses to Written Questions, p. 11, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP 45 Legislative Council, Legal and Social Issues Committee, Victoria, Inquiry into Firearms Prohibition Legislation, 2 September 2019, p. 21, https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Firearms/transcripts/3.FP-FINALWALKER.pdf https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Firearms/transcripts/3.FP-FINAL-WALKER.pdf https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Firearms/transcripts/3.FP-FINAL-WALKER.pdf