Removing offence of begging

Michael Ferguson,Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

The Hodgman Liberal Government is focused on practically improving the lives of Tasmanians by reducing cost of living pressures, helping people out of family violence situations and supporting vulnerable Tasmanians into safe and affordable accommodation.

Following the introduction of the Police Offences Amendment (Begging) Bill 2018 by Cassy O’Connor MP last year, at my instruction the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management has reviewed the existing Act and briefed the Government.

I can announce today that we will now proceed to remove the current offence of begging from the Police Offences Act 1935.

Tasmania Police advise that they will, however, still need to ensure they have power to move people on if they are intimidating, creating a nuisance or otherwise harassing other people.

The next step in the process is to consult closely with key NGO stakeholders and the Police Association of Tasmania on the wording of a Bill, which will remove the offence of begging and ensure that Tasmania Police has the required powers in certain situations.

We intend to introduce this Bill in the Spring Session of State Parliament.

Most importantly, the Hodgman Liberal Government is constantly working to prevent situations where people feel the need to beg in the first place and removing begging as an offense helps us get the balance right.

/Public Release. View in full here.