Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019
Tabled paper 1423
Tabled papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Tony Sievers
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Department of the Legislative Assembly
Examination of the Bill 31 The broadness of this power allows for flexibility in the future. In the future, NTPOL might seek to create a specialised position and the flexibility on rank may assist with creating this position. For this reason, NTPOL submit that the ability to delegate remains at the Commissioners discretion.46 Committees Comments 3.63 The Committee does not consider the arguments put forward by NTPOL to provide sufficient justification for allowing powers of delegation in relation to FPOs to remain as currently specified in s 5 of the Act. 3.64 The Committee notes that the Bill introduces legislation that allows significant infringements of human rights. Although it accepts the necessity of these infringements in order to reduce the risk of firearm related violence, and ensure public safety, it notes that as the Bill makes rights and liberties dependent on administrative power, it is essential to ensure that the power is sufficiently defined and subject to appropriate review.47 Recommendation 7 The Committee recommends that the Bill be amended to provide that the Police Commissioners power in relation to firearm prohibition orders can only be delegated to a police officer at the level of superintendent or higher. Appeal Provisions 3.65 Under the current Act, appeals are dealt with through the Firearms Appeal Tribunal (FAT) (sections 50 to 54C). Under the Bill, a person served with an FPO will not be able to appeal through the FAT but must apply to the NTCAT for the order to be reviewed (proposed s 49L). Appeals not related to FPOs will continue to go through the FAT. The NT Firearms Council recommended that the Bill be amended to refer any appeal under Section 49 to the Firearms Appeal Tribunal as established under Section 50 of the Firearms Act.48 They commented that: The FAT is a specialist body which deals solely with reviewing actions by the Commissioner under the Firearms Act. It is chaired by the Chief Judge of the Local Court and two members. One of these is a representative of the Commissioner (usually a senior Police Officer) and another drawn from the Executive of the NT Firearms Council. This body has considered complex appeals over a long period of time and is proven to provide strict and stringent outcomes in its application of the legislation. With members appointed for a period of 3 years, the tenure ensures consistent review of decisions through experience and from intimate working knowledge of the legislation.49 3.66 NT Firearms Council expressed concerns that having appeals go through NTCAT would result in inconstant (sic) determinations by persons not familiar with existing 46 Northern Territory Police Force, Responses to Written Questions, pp. 12-13, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP 47 Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee, Terms of Reference, 4(c)(iii)(A) and (C). 48 Submission 4 NT Firearms Council Inc., p. 3. 49 Submission 4 NT Firearms Council Inc., p. 3. https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP
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