23 February 2018

ACT government enforces new rules to improve safety of lake users

| Lachlan Roberts
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Lake Burley Griffin.

The new rules update and bring the legislation into line with neighbouring jurisdictions. Photo: Jack Mohr.

Legislation passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday (22nd February) will make amendments to the Lakes ACT 1976 to make water-based activities safer and to encourage people to use Canberra’s picturesque lakes.

According to the Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, the changes to the Act were made with the public’s’ safety in mind and the amendments will ensure that all boats are operated in a safe and responsible manner.

“These significant amendments to the Lakes Act 1976 will encourage greater safety for Canberrans using our beautiful lakes for recreation use at Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, Molonglo Reach and Kingston Harbour,” Mr Gentleman said.

As part of the new rules in the legislation, all small boat users will have to wear life jackets as well as allowing electric powered boats to operate without a permit if they travel at less than 10 knots.

New drug and alcohol laws consistent with road transport legislation which will be enforceable by the ACT Water Police was also introduced.

“The new legislation will introduce fines of up to $7500 and/or up to one year in prison for individuals committing offences that pose a risk to public safety, such as the inappropriate use of drug and alcohol,” Mr Gentleman said.

The changes to the Act will not affect the activities currently permitted on ACT waterways, with the existing rules banning power boats and jet skis not affected by the changes.

The legislation will also introduce cross-jurisdictional arrangements for users of Lake Burley Griffin, Kingston Harbour and Molonglo Reach which currently crossover between the ACT Government and the National Capital Authority, who regulate Lake Burley Griffin.

Local lake users will no longer need to obtain approval from both the ACT and Commonwealth Governments, with users only needing one permit to enjoy all of Canberra’s lakes.

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I agree with reasonable but not restrictive safety measures.

We must encourage our community to partake in many forms of physical & recreational activity, not restrict.

Has anyone thought about an easily accessible small vessel shed/locker system? I would happily pay monthly rent to store my kayak in an easily accessible place near lake G and know others who would too.

If increasing the restrictions, increase the incentives.

Surely this is a bad idea. Lifejackets may save a few lives but if their cost and inconvenience discourage people from getting out and being active on our lakes then those few lives are not worth it, The benefit to the wider community of being more active overrides the loss of a few people.

Oops. Sorry.

I think I may have confused life jackets with bike helmets.

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