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Apr 172013

The following is a speech made in Parliament yesterday by Steve Minnikin State Member for Chatsworth.

Tonight I rise in the chamber to speak in support of the Police Powers and Responsibilities (Motor Vehicle Impoundment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. I will never forget her. It was 1988, the year of Expo. She was sleek, had curves in all the right places and was low to the ground. She was my 1977 Mustang Celica. She was Monza red. The gearstick knob was a pool ball. She had twin BorgWarner carburetors and a Fujitsu 10 800-watt amplifier in the back. She was my undoubted love, joy and passion at the time. Yes, like many colleagues here tonight, I was a passionate collector of cars. I was an enthusiast, but certainly I was not a hoon. I will always remember the sheen and the lustre. Every night in the garage, I would get that nappy and rub to bring up that beautiful Monza red lustre. Therefore, as much as the next person I appreciate people with a passion for cars. There is nothing at all wrong with that. However, as has been said in the House already, there is a big distinction between a passion for vehicles and hoons. They are a scourge and this bill will go a long way to ridding society of just those folk whom we do not need on the road. Therefore, I also take this opportunity to commend the Newman government and, in particular, the Minister for Police and Community Safety, the Hon. Jack Dempsey, for bringing this important bill to the House.

This amendment bill will ensure that we deliver on our commitment to Queenslanders to crackdown on unsocial behaviour in our local communities. Secondly, I would also like to commend the Newman government and the minister for ensuring that Queensland is a state that has one of the toughest, if not the toughest, hooning laws in the whole of the country.

As the proud member for Chatsworth, I am pleased to rise here tonight to talk about what this government will be doing to clamp down on hoons in our local streets. Whilst this is not a widespread issue, the back streets of Gumdale and Wakerley do have problems with hooning from time to time. I note that the police district for my electorate in 2012 had 16 type 1 offences and 1,929 type 2 offences.

This amendment bill ensures that the government, as a part of the Safer Streets Crime Action Plan, will be able to send a very clear message to hoons. The message to hoons in our local areas will be that in the coming months we will have some of the toughest antihooning laws in the nation—in fact, probably the toughest. This message will be sent loud and clear to any individual who engages in hooning or is even contemplating hooning on our local roads.

My constituents in the Chatsworth electorate can be assured that the Newman government does not tolerate individuals who engage in unsafe behaviour on our local roads. We are not just a government that says we will be tough on crime, we certainly mean business. This amendment bill will ensure individuals know there is a real price to pay for their unsafe and antisocial behaviour.

The Police Powers and Responsibilities (Motor Vehicle Impoundment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 will ensure that the commitments of the Safer Streets Crime Action Plan can be achieved—commitments such as ensuring drivers of hooning cars have their wheels clamped and are unable to return to the wheel for three months. Occasionally, I have constituents in my Chatsworth electorate worrying about the impact of crime and antisocial behaviour in our local area.

I truly believe that this amendment bill is a step in the right direction in ensuring that residents feel safe in their streets once again. Let us not pull any punches here. Hooning in our local areas can and does cost lives. There is no rhyme nor reason to drive at high speeds in local suburban streets in the Chatsworth electorate or any suburban streets throughout Queensland for that matter. We all know that speeding kills and this amendment bill will ensure my constituents do not fear travelling their local streets.

This amendment bill will address the administrative and operational inefficiencies that have previously existed with vehicle impoundment. It will ensure that evading police and high-end speeding offences, above 40 kilometres an hour, will be classified as type 1 and type 2 vehicle related offences respectively. Individuals who commit a second vehicle related offence will face five years of impoundment. It has been up until now three years for impoundment.

This amendment bill will also seek to allow individuals to be penalised where appropriate through traffic infringement notices. Presently, proceedings were not able to occur until there was a notice to appear or arrest. This will ensure that individuals who engage in hooning will be punished quicker for their unsafe behaviour.

Police will automatically be able to start the motions of impounding a vehicle automatically, without waiting for the court applications to be processed. It will ensure that our processes within the criminal system are streamlined and efficient. No longer will a police officer have to spend copious amounts of time preparing an application for court. Presently applications have to be made to the court to start the proceedings to impound or to engage in forfeiture of a vehicle.

It is also pleasing to note that this amendment bill amends the definition of a ‘burnout’. Presently individuals who engage in driving behaviour that includes a loss of a vehicle’s traction but where there is no smoke produced avoid being penalised under the type 1 vehicle impoundment scheme. Police will also be given the opportunity to engage in other methods of impounding such as tow and store, immobilisation/clamping, crushing, removal of registration plates and use of vehicle production notices.

This amendment bill perfectly aligns with the commitments of the Newman government—a government that is about slashing unnecessary red tape and which again ensures that we are providing the best possible front-line services to the residents of Chatsworth and fellow Queenslanders throughout the state. I thoroughly support the Police Powers and Responsibilities (Motor Vehicle Impoundment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. This sensible and pragmatic amendment bill will finally bring some much needed tougher measures against Queenslanders who decide to engage in these antisocial antics. Again, thank you to the Minister for Police and Community Safety, the Hon. Jack Dempsey, and also the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for their work to bring this amendment bill to the House today.

I would also like to place on the record in this House on behalf of the Chatsworth electorate our deep and sincere appreciation to the Queensland Police Service for the tireless work they do each and every day to make our lives safer. The Queensland Police Service strive to protect all Queenslanders and it is only fitting that we as a government ensure that they are able to get on with their job with a minimum of red tape and unnecessary paperwork. I thoroughly commend this amendment bill to the House.

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