ACT News

ACT Government moves to ramp-up anti-bikie laws following shootings

The ACT government is ramping up its attack on outlawed motorcycle gangs with laws banning contact between people convicted of similar offences under consideration following a spate of shootings in Canberra's south. 

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said the laws were under consideration as part of an early reform proposal to tackle organised crime in the capital.

"We need to keep ahead of outlaw motorcycle gangs," Mr Corbell said.

"The proposals the government is currently looking at and have under active consideration include further reform to our criminal law, particularly in relation to issues of consorting; making sure people who have been convicted of serious criminal offences aren't able to consort with others with the purpose of potentially committing further crime."

Police believe the string of southside attacks in the territory this month were targeted, with at least one potentially linked to outlaw motorcycle gang activity.

Tensions between Rebels bikies and a newly established Canberra Comanchero chapter are rising and police fear Rebels bikies peppered the home and car of a rival gang member with bullets.


Mr Corbell said the proposed law reforms had been on the drawing board since last year, but the shootings had concerned the government and would inform any decisions. 

However, he said there had been no significant displacement of crime to the territory as a result of anti-bikie laws elsewhere, according to Australian Federal Police and the Crime Commission.

"Certainly [the shootings] have helped inform my decision-making and the government's decision-making about what further law reform we think we may need," he said.

Mr Corbell said police had backed consorting laws in his discussions.

The ACT government has previously backed away from the sorts of tough anti-bikie laws pursued in NSW and Queensland.

Mr Corbell said any changes would draw from law reform interstate but would differ. 

"We've been very clear anti-association orders, those sorts of control orders, quite frankly, are quite often more legal trouble and policing resource intensive than they're worth.

"Other mechanisms can work very effectively, such as consorting."

Unlike anti-association orders, consorting laws could be better balanced with individual human rights.

Mr Corbell said he was "very confident" a law could be constructed that struck the right balance.

"When it comes to balancing protecting public safety and individual rights, it has to be proportionally right."

Consultation, particularly with the legal sector, would determine the progression of reform.

Although police were ramping up efforts, particularly through Operation Nemesis, Mr Corbell said there was a low level of organised crime activity in the ACT.