Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3116..
Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill 2006
Mr Corbell, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.58): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
This bill makes changes to the structure of the Human Rights Commission. Essentially it removes the position of president from the commission so that every member of the commission will be a specialist commissioner.
The Human Rights Commission is created by the Human Rights Commission Act 2005. It is a new structure for statutory oversight in the ACT to deliver better quality services to the community and to government-both in oversight and advocacy terms and also by actively promoting improvements in the delivery of human services. The Human Rights Commission Act establishes a new statutory authority, which will have the functions of dealing with complaints about discrimination, health services, disability services and services for older people, as well as facilitating service improvement and developing awareness in government and the community of human rights.
The Human Rights Commission amalgamates the offices of the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner and the Human Rights Office and separates the position of Human Rights Commissioner from the position of Discrimination Commissioner. The commission also incorporates the Children and Young People Commissioner and will be responsible for oversight of services offered for children and young people.
Initially the government intended that the Human Rights Commission would consist of a number of specialist commissioners and a president, who would be responsible for administration for the commission and would be responsible for conciliating complaints. In this way, commissioners would be relieved of administrative tasks with a statutory division of the complaints and conciliation roles.
Consistent with a number of other budget initiatives to restrain costs, streamline administration and obtain the best value from funding, the government has decided to remove the president from the commission structure. This will allow the commissioners to decide, together, how to manage the operation of the commission. Conciliation will be kept separate from the process of considering complaints by having it carried out by trained staff of the commission or by specialist consultants engaged by the commission