This is the first time an Australian government has progressed this type of reform. As with other significant harm minimisation reforms over the decades, there are elements of the legislation that are new and unfamiliar.
We consider the ACT has the right to legislate on this issue but, there is a possibility that the Commonwealth will try to test the ACT’s laws in the courts.
The ACT Government has taken steps to minimise this risk in the way we have structured our amendments. There will still be an offence in ACT legislation, but with an exception for persons 18 years of age and over.
The Government has taken this approach to manage potential issues that may arise regarding consistency with Commonwealth laws.