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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 4181..


Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2010

Debate resumed from 1 July 2010, on motion by Ms Burch:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.10): Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this bill today. It makes four amendments stated by the minister in her presentation speech to be minor and technical in nature. The first amendment enables the daily carer of a child or young person to consent to dental treatment, including minor dental surgery, on the advice of a dental therapist. This extends the current provision, which is currently limited to dentists. A definition of "dental therapist"is inserted into the legislation.

The second amends one of the categories of "mandated reporter"in instances of child abuse. Currently, the relevant category, which relates to situations of home-based education, would ordinarily be the child's parents. The amendment would provide, rather, that the category would be a person authorised to inspect education programs, materials or other records used for home education of a child or young person under the Education Act 2004. This would ordinarily be someone independent of the child's parents.

The third amendment makes it clear that the chief executive must make a review report for a reviewable care and protection order for a child or young person one month before the anniversary of the order being made if the order is for more than one year.

The last of the four amendments provides that a court must not allow information, which includes documents, to be given to the parties to a proceeding unless the court is satisfied that the information is materially relevant to the proceedings and the best interests of the child or young person are protected. Currently the provision is limited to documents.

I would not necessarily describe all of these amendments as minor and technical. Some are more substantive in nature and are, once again, indicative of the sorts of problems that we have encountered and the issues that arise when 900 pages of legislation are introduced and dealt with as one document, as was the case when the Children and Young People Act was presented in this place in 2008.

I do note again that at the time the opposition pushed for a committee review of this legislation, some of these issues may have arisen in the context of that review. Nonetheless, the amendments are sensible and are supported on this occasion by the Canberra Liberals.


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