Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4349..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
The Human Rights and Service Review Commission will be established within the Attorney-General's portfolio. However, this will not prevent its commissioners from reporting or making recommendations directly to other ministers on matters of direct interest to their portfolios. Commissioners will be appointed for five-year terms on a full- or part-time basis. The model provides for the flexibility to introduce additional commissioners in the future such as, prospectively, an ACT Privacy Commissioner. It will also improve efficiency through the sharing of staff and administrative costs between officers, while recognising that each commissioner is likely to require specialist staff with expertise in his or her area of responsibility.
The government proposes to develop legislation enacting a Human Rights and Service Review Commission. It is my hope that this will be one of the tasks which both the department of justice and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will be engaged in during the caretaker period. The legislative changes will establish a core set of consistent processes for handling complaints applying to all of the proposed commissioners. Consideration of an appropriate legislative model and drafting of new legislation and amendments to existing legislation will take a number of months to finalise.
In addition to looking at the statutory oversight system, the review considered a number of issues in relation to community advocacy. Overall, it found that the provision of community advocacy by non-government organisations is the best model for the ACT, noting the capacity of the territory's community organisations to operate such services effectively and efficiently. The government will ask the Joint Community Government Reference Group to consider the review's findings in relation to the availability of individual advocacy for those most at risk in the community. One of the roles of the group is also to provide advice on funding to the newly established Community Inclusion Board.
The health of a community can be measured by the extent to which it is prepared to care for and support all of its members. This, of course, is a key principle underlying policies and actions arising out of the Canberra social plan and the Canberra plan. Oversight bodies are established to improve government accountability, to protect and promote citizens' rights and to ensure that people have an opportunity to seek redress when they consider that a service provider has failed to meet its obligations.
I am very confident that the new structure I have outlined today will work for the future and engender the public trust and confidence that are essential to its success.
Mr Quinlan presented the following paper:
Territory Owned Corporations Act, pursuant to section 19 (3)-Actew Corporation Ltd-Statement of Corporate Intent-2004-05 to 2007-08.
Caring for carers-a plan for action 2004-2007
Papers and statement by minister
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for