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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3802..


MR BARR (continuing):

birth. This gives more time to birth parents and their families to receive counselling if they wish; to consider possible alternatives to adoption; to develop an adoption plan; and to establish future contact arrangements. As potentially vulnerable people, parents under the age of 18 years will be able to receive legal advice and counselling.

We know that family relationships can be difficult, but the evidence tells us that open and honest relationships are in the best interests of the child or young person. This is why we are removing contact veto provisions. Instead of contact vetoes, counsellors from the family information service, currently the adoption information service, will sit down with adopted children and young people and talk about how they would like to build relationships with their birth parents. They will sit down with their birth parents and talk about meeting their adopted son or daughter.

We are doing this to help children and young people in all families. We are doing this so that a young person sitting nervously in a coffee shop for the first time will learn that their natural ability to kick a footy comes from their birth father. We are doing this so that a child can fly back to their birth country and see that their laugh is exactly the same as their birth mother's. They will see that their mannerisms originate from somewhere and they will learn about their heritage, their culture and their history.

We are helping children and young people in all ACT families. These amendments promote the best interests of children and young people. Further, they respect and support the involvement of both adopting families and birth families. Together, we are building loving, stable and sustainable homes for all of our children and young people.

I am pleased to present the amendments contained within the Adoption Amendment Bill 2009 and present it today for the Assembly's consideration.

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

Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2009

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (11.21): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2009. This bill makes permanent a number of temporary modifications to the Planning and Development Act 2007. These modifications are currently in schedule 20 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. The Planning and Development Act 2007 commenced on 31 March 2008 and put in place, amongst other things, national leading practice for the assessment of development applications.


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