Heavier penalties for trespassers could come into play after calls from frustrated business owners and other Territorians.
The Trespass Bill 2023 was introduced by the Territory Labor Government to the Legislative Assembly and will replace the outdated Trespass Act of 1987.
Once passed, the Bill will include penalties of a possible prison term of up to six months, or fines up to $5,500 – the current fine reaching a maximum of $3,240.
The Territory Government has made these changes in response to community members believing the existing laws are convoluted and not working.
Police have also expressed their concerns that the current law does not give them enough power to act fast enough on public complaints.
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Kate Worden says the new Bill will allow police to issue warnings on behalf of property owners, and give power to arrest anyone who breaches a direction to leave.
“Police have also found their effectiveness to respond to trespass complaints frustrated by the requirement in the current Act to provide multiple warnings before being able to arrest or to remove a person for trespass,” she says.
“This new law will make the process of issuing and enforcing trespass orders more streamlined, allowing employees and others, such as security guards, to issue warnings.”
The new Bill will also allow employees or others authorised by the legal occupier to issue and seek enforcement of trespass warnings.