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Gangs Targeted by New Bill

Gangs Targeted by New Bill

Gangs Targeted by New Bill

Wednesday 20 March, 2024

The Gangs Legislation Amendment Bill (“the Bill”), see here, is part of the Government’s 100-day plan to restore law and order. Introduced to Parliament on 7 March 2024 it has been referred to the Justice Select Committee for report back by 8 July 2024. Submissions must be received by 5 April 2024.

The Bill will be of interest to local government both because it relieves the public pressure on councils to control certain gang activities, and because the public places in which certain activities will be regulated are largely under the local authority control.

The stated aim of the Bill is to reduce the harm caused by gangs and make public communities safer.

How it does this

Key provisions of the Bill include:

  • Prohibits the display of gang insignia in public places
  • Creates a new dispersal power to stop gang members gathering in public
  • Creates a new non-consorting order to stop specified gang offenders from consorting for 3 years
  • Amends the Sentencing Act 2002 to make gang membership an aggravating factor.

The first two offences created carry a penalty of up to 6 months or a fine up to $5,000, and breach of a non-consorting order a penalty of up to 5 years or a fine up to $15,000. Enforcement is by the Police with only a constable being able to file a charging document.

Public place

This term has a wide definition in the Bill, which would extend to many places under the control of Council regardless of ownership. It would, for example, include roads, parks, libraries, beaches, community buildings and those parts of council buildings open to the public.

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