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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Legislation introduced to disrupt serious criminal activity

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Legislation introduced to disrupt serious criminal activity

    Legislation to disrupt and dismantle the serious criminal activity of criminal organisations has been introduced into Parliament today by the Bligh Government.

    Premier Anna Bligh said the government had taken the time to ensure the Bill represented the most robust legislation in the country, striking the proper balance between the rights of individuals and the safety of the community.

    “The Bill provides the police with additional tools for tackling organised criminal activity, while also including a range of safeguards for individual freedoms,” Ms Bligh said.

    “While this proposed legislation is tough, the Bill explicitly provides that it is not the Parliament’s intention that powers under the Act be exercised in a way that diminish the freedom of people to participate in advocacy, protests or industrial action.

    “These are tough laws to target organised criminal gangs including bikie organisations involved in serious criminal activity - members of criminal organisations pose a threat to Queensland communities and have been involved in criminal activities such as extortion, drug manufacturing and distribution.

    “The Bill allows for the Police Commissioner to make an application to the Supreme Court to declare an organisation a criminal organisation.

    “The Supreme Court can make such a declaration where it is satisfied members of the organisation meet for the purpose of engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, serious criminal activity and the organisation is an unacceptable risk to the safety, order or welfare of the community.

    “Once an organisation is declared criminal, the Police Commissioner can make further applications on specific grounds to the Supreme Court that control orders be made against individual members of a criminal organisation.”

    Attorney-General Cameron Dick said a control order could prohibit an individual from engaging in certain behaviours which could lead to serious criminal activity.

    “Individuals with control orders against them could be banned by the Supreme Court from obtaining a weapons licence, being employed in the gaming, security provider or liquor industries, associating with other members of declared criminal organisations or recruiting new members into criminal organisations,” Mr Dick said.

    “These orders are designed to break the links that hold outlaw motorcycle gangs or other criminal organisations together and disrupt their capacity to engage in criminal activity. “

    The Bill creates a new offence of contravening a control order, which carries a maximum penalty of three years’ jail for the first offence and five years’ jail for subsequent offences.

    “A public safety order can also be made by the Supreme Court under the proposed new legislation, which could, prohibit an individual or group of persons from entering a premise, specified area or event.

    “A fortification removal order requires an individual or organisation to remove fortifications, such as metal doors, which pose a significant obstacle to police performing law enforcement activities.

    “In conjunction with new powers and offences, the Bill also introduces a range of strict safeguards and review mechanisms to protect the civil liberties of Queenslanders and ensure the legislation is being used appropriately.

    “Unlike organised crime laws in other state, the Queensland legislation creates a unique Criminal Organisation Public Interest Monitor, a retired judge or independent lawyer who will monitor, appear on and make submissions in relation to applications under the Bill.

    “We are the only state to include such mechanisms in its criminal organisation legislation.

    “The Criminal Organisation Public Interest Monitor will represent the public interest by assisting the court during application hearings to test the validity of applications, particularly where the respondent cannot be present due to the use of covert intelligence.”

    Mr Dick said the Bligh Government had taken the time to get the legislation right, so that it was balanced and constitutionally robust.

    Media contacts: Premier’s Office 3224 4550; Attorney-General’s Office 3239 3487 or 3224 7481