Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Declarations/Other as made
The purpose of this instrument is to exempt registrations for firearm dealer occupations, or for activities covered by firearm dealer occupations, from the automatic deemed registration provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 of the Commonwealth until 1 July 2027 because of a significant risk to the health and safety of workers or the public. This instrument has effect only in relation to the Australian Capital Territory.
Administered by: Employment and Workplace Relations
Registered 29 Jun 2022
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR26-Jul-2022
Tabled Senate26-Jul-2022
Table of contents.

Commonwealth Coat of Arms of Australia

 

Automatic Mutual Recognition (Australian Capital Territory) (Exemptions—Firearms Dealers) Declaration 2022

I, Andrew Barr, Chief Minister for the Australian Capital Territory, make the following declaration.

Dated   27 June 2022                         

Andrew Barr

Chief Minister

 

 

 


Contents

1  Name........................................................................................................................................ 1

2  Commencement........................................................................................................................ 1

3  Authority.................................................................................................................................. 1

4  Simplified outline of this instrument......................................................................................... 1

5  Definitions................................................................................................................................ 1

6  Exemption................................................................................................................................ 2

7  Significant risk statement.......................................................................................................... 2

8  Human Rights Act statement.................................................................................................... 3

 

 


1  Name

                   This instrument is the Automatic Mutual Recognition (Australian Capital Territory) (Exemptions—Firearms Dealers) Declaration 2022.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this instrument specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this instrument

1 July 2022.

1 July 2022.

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this instrument as originally made. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this instrument.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this instrument. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this instrument.

3  Authority

                   This instrument is made under section 42S of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 of the Commonwealth.

4  Simplified outline of this instrument

The purpose of this instrument is to exempt registrations for firearm dealer occupations, or for activities covered by firearm dealer occupations, from the automatic deemed registration provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 of the Commonwealth until 1 July 2027 because of a significant risk to the health and safety of workers or the public.

This instrument has effect only in relation to the Australian Capital Territory.

5  Definitions

                   In this instrument:

Act means the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 of the Commonwealth.

6  Exemption

For section 42S(1)(a) of the Act, a registration under the Firearms Act 1996 of the Australian Capital Territory is excluded from the operation of automatic deemed registration in the Australian Capital Territory until 1 July 2027 because of the significant risks set out in section 7.

7  Significant risk statement

For section 42S(2) of the Act, the exclusion in section 6 is necessary because of the significant risk in the ACT to the health or safety of workers or the public. Gaps and inconsistencies in regulatory requirements across jurisdictions for the carrying on the occupation of firearms dealer have already been identified as an area of exploitation by illicit dealers.

In 2008, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) conducted a review of both federal and state and territory legislation and found that, while there was general compliance with the law, legislative loopholes or oversights inadvertently facilitated opportunities to divert firearms.

As part of its 2012 report concerning firearm trafficking, the AIC noted gaps in the law with respect to firearms dealers and that regulation with regard to dealerships and the registration and manufacture of firearms were key areas requiring change including improved scrutiny around sale and disposal records maintained by dealers, and increasing penalties on the wilful entry of false information

For example, there are inconsistent record-keeping requirements across jurisdictions including what type of, and how, information needs to be recorded, including whether the location of each firearm acquired/disposed/stored needs to be recorded. Record keeping in the ACT is currently paper-based.

Under automatic mutual recognition, challenges may arise for the ACT regulator to trace firearms dealing by interstate dealers who may operate temporarily in the ACT and this could provide opportunities for illicit activity by dealers.

An exclusion for five years is necessary because it will enable the ACT to continue to engage with other jurisdictions to address gaps and inconsistencies in regulatory requirements and progress a nationally consistent information exchange scheme. Work is being done at a national level to progress these issues of consistency and information sharing but it is not sufficiently progressed to mitigate the risks to public health or safety.

It will also enable the ACT to review its existing licencing framework, including firearms manufacture, to ensure it is fit for purpose and addresses the risks identified by the AIC.

 

 

8  Human Rights Act statement

Section 40B(1) of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) provides that it is unlawful for public authorities to act in a way that is incompatible with a human right or, in making a decision, fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right. Accordingly, in making this exclusion in section 6, I have considered any relevant human rights that may be impacted as required by s40B. Section 27B(1) of the Human Rights Act 2004 provides that everyone has the right to work, including the right to choose their occupation or profession freely. I am satisfied that the making of the exclusion in section 6 would not be incompatible with the right to work and the right to choose an occupation or profession freely.

While the exclusion may limit the right to work, it is important to note that the making of the exclusion does not prevent an individual from carrying on the occupation of a firearms dealer in the ACT. Rather, the making of the exclusion will mean that all individuals who wish to carry on an activity covered by the occupation of firearms dealer in the ACT must meet particular registration requirements set out in ACT law. Upon meeting the relevant registration requirements, individuals would be able to carry on an activity covered by the occupation of firearms dealer in the ACT. The registration requirements are a necessary, proportionate and reasonable measure through which safeguards are provided to protect public health and safety. Any limitation on the right to work is reasonable and justified because the exclusion will allow the ACT to address risks associated with the transitioning to AMR while ensuring there is no diminution in current levels of safeguards in relation to public health and safety. The exclusion will enable the risks to public health and safety to be addressed by working to resolve gaps and inconsistencies in regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions and progress a more robust and reliable information exchange scheme.