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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 8 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 2507..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

need to receive an individual complaint. It may also receive a ministerial direction to inquire into a matter.

The commissioner is empowered to set up advisory committees to help the Human Rights Commission make good decisions in relation to services for children and young people. Children and young people with relevant experience or expertise can be appointed to an advisory committee. The executive will appoint the commissioner for a period of up to five years. Conditions of appointment are agreed between the commissioner and the executive, but are subject to determinations made by the Remuneration Tribunal. The bill does not include provisions for child death review, employment screening or an expanded role for the Official Visitor, which were identified as possible functions for the proposed Children and Young People Commissioner.

Further policy development and consultation is required to put in place an effective structure. In addition, some further policy development in relation to the Official Visitor and Children's Services Council will be addressed in amendments to the Children and Young People Act 1999. By strengthening the ability of children and young people to participate in the issues that affect them by giving them a voice through the commissioner, we are all contributing to making our community a stronger and safer place for children and young people. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Dunne ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Public Advocate Bill 2005

Ms Gallagher , pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.51): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Public Advocate Bill 2005 is designed to change the name of the Community Advocate. It carries out the commitment this government made last year in the position paper The right system for rights protection which was released in response to the report of the review of statutory oversight and community advocacy agencies conducted by the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance, or FEMAG. The review looked at a broad range of statutory oversight and community advocacy bodies, taking a holistic view of the system.

One of the recommendations was that the name of the Office of the Community Advocate should be changed. The government agreed to make a change, choosing the name preferred by the Office of the Community Advocate itself, which was "ACT Public Advocate". This bill achieves that change and, at the same time, puts the provisions around the Public Advocate into more modern language. This bill makes little change to the current legislative framework that provides for the Community Advocate. All the


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