Ms JODI McKAY (Strathfield) [11.27 a.m.]: I lead for the Opposition in debate on the Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 and the cognate Security Industry Amendment (Regulation of Training Organisations) Bill 2015. The Opposition will not oppose the bills. Once again, we are being forced to examine legislation that has been rushed through without any regard for the proper processes of this place. I do not know how many times I have stated that in the past two weeks. Debate on important legislation is being left to the last minute.
The Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is particularly important because it gives effect to recommendations related to the review of the Martin Place siege. I would have thought that greater emphasis would be given to consultation with the Opposition on such an important bill. That has not been the case. In his second reading speech the Minister indicated that the bill deals with recommendations of the joint Commonwealth and New South Wales review of the Martin Place siege, which reported in January 2015. The report of the review said:
… the Commonwealth and the states and territories should give further consideration to measures to deal with illegal firearm.
The report found that Man Haron Monis had a pump action shotgun in his possession. He did not have a firearms licence, and the gun may have been a "grey market firearm". Many gun owners in this State do the right thing. This bill is aimed not at them but at those who would engage in criminal activity. As the Minister outlined, certain firearms present a greater risk to public safety as they are more likely to be used for a criminal purpose. This bill deals with those firearms. I bring to the attention of the House the number of shootings that have occurred since this Government came to power. There have been more than 520 shootings—more than 75 so far this year—and around 40 of those shootings have been fatal.
Of course, not all those shootings would have involved a prohibited firearm, which is what this bill addresses. I agree with the Minister that it is surprising that there is currently no offence for the possession of a stolen firearm. This bill rightly seeks to rectify that by introducing a new offence. The bill increases the maximum penalty for a number of offences, which, according to the Minister, is aimed at reflecting the serious risk posed by some firearms. The bill provides for a consistent maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment for the possession, use, supply or acquisition of a firearm where the firearm is a prohibited firearm, has had its identification marks, numbers or letters defaced or altered, is unregistered, is stolen, or is not authorised by licence or permit to be in the possession of that person.
Section 51F provides that a person must not possess or control a digital blueprint for the manufacture of a firearm on a 3D printer or electronic milling machine. The maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years imprisonment. Importantly, the bill recognises advances in the online environment and in technology and it captures blueprints held in a cloud environment or by a server outside of New South Wales or Australia. This new offence is appropriate at this time. It recognises the important role we play in this place in reacting to issues as they arise and to change, particularly in changing technology. While the Opposition will not oppose this bill we do have concerns about the amendments to sections 10 and 30 of the Firearms Act, which allow for the Commissioner of Police to consider the spent convictions of applicants for firearms licences and permits.
These amendments allow for section 12 of the Criminal Records Act not to apply in relation to an application for a firearms licence or permit. Spent convictions apply to those convictions where a bond was given or a sentence of less than six months was imposed. For a conviction to be spent, an adult must be crime free and must not have been in prison for the past 10 years, and for a child the applicable period is three years. Whether those spent offences impact on a person's application for a firearms licence or permit is left to the discretion of the Commissioner of Police. It is hoped that discretion is used wisely, given these people have done their time and their sentence was less than six months. As I said, we have concerns about that aspect of the bill, but we will not oppose it.
I turn now to the Security Industry Amendment (Regulation of Training Organisations) Bill 2015. This is important legislation which ensures the NSW Police Force has the requisite authority to regulate and audit private training providers who offer security training qualifications in New South Wales. The importance of the quality of well-trained security officers cannot be overstated. They are often the first line of defence at community, entertainment and sporting events across New South Wales. It is therefore imperative that they have the knowledge and skills to deal with complex security issues in a professional and secure manner. Unfortunately, the security industry in New South Wales has not always been characterised by these high expectations of service delivery.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption 2009 Operation Columba inquiry shone a light on the provision of security training in New South Wales. The corrupt conduct that was uncovered as part of that inquiry was a wake-up call on just how important this issue is and why we all must work together to ensure security officers have completed all the necessary training and gained the appropriate qualifications, and that the training and qualifications are of a high standard. One of the key recommendations of that review was for greater oversight and quality control by the NSW Police Force. While the NSW Police Force has taken important steps towards the practical implementation of this recommendation, it is important that after six years this recommendation is enshrined in legislation so that there is no conflict with Commonwealth legislation.
This bill amends the Security Industry Act 1997 to ensure that the NSW Police Force has total certainty with regard to its role and responsibilities as the key regulator of the New South Wales security industry. I am pleased the Minister has confirmed that the Commonwealth supports the continued involvement of the NSW Police Force in regulating the security industry. As I have indicated, the Opposition does not oppose the bills. However, we are disappointed that, once again, an important bill, particularly a bill that deals with the recommendations from the New South Wales Martin Place Siege review report, has been rushed through this House with very little consultation with the Opposition. The Opposition will support these bills.