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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 3952..

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Disability and Community Services and Minister for Women) (10.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

As members will be aware, the government has been undertaking a comprehensive review of the Children and Young People Act, involving extensive community input. In March this year the Assembly passed the Children and Young People Amendment Act 2006. That amendment act was the first stage of a reform process that will ultimately see a complete rewrite of the act. This rewrite is well underway. I have asked that an exposure draft of the bill be released for public consultation this month.

The bill that is before members today will effect a number of changes. The bill will replace the current search and seizure provisions in relation to children and young people who are detained at Quamby Youth Detention Centre. The bill will also introduce prenatal reporting.

In relation to the search and seizure powers for children and young people detained at Quamby Youth Detention Centre, I made a commitment to members in July 2005 that the standing orders underpinning the administration of Quamby would be updated to ensure their compatibility with the Human Rights Act. The search provisions in the act require simultaneous amendment in order to ensure that searches of children and young people at Quamby are done in a way that is compatible with the Human Rights Act.

This bill also gives effect to one of the key recommendations of the Murray-Mackie study to allow for prenatal reporting and a response to these concerns. Experience in other jurisdictions also confirms the need for prenatal reporting, to ensure adequate attention is given to the future needs of high-risk infants at the earliest opportunity.

Extensive community consultation has further revealed widespread support for provisions to allow the chief executive to:

  • receive voluntary reports on children who may be born as a result of a pregnancy; and

  • undertake a voluntary assessment of the concerns and offer voluntary support services to pregnant women and other persons who may be involved in the care of the child after he or she is born.

The purpose of an assessment prior to the birth of a child is to offer voluntary support to reduce the likelihood of statutory involvement after the birth of the child.

I will also be tabling today for the information of members the second report on key findings from the review of the Children and Young People Act. The report

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