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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1561..


Reports on human rights—government responses

Papers and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney—General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

Australian Capital Territory Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Research Project—Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0989167—Report—Government response, dated March 2012.

Human Rights Act 2004—The First Five Years of Operation—A report to the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety, prepared by the ACT Human Rights Act Research Project, the Australian National University—Government response, dated March 2012.

I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the papers.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Today I am pleased to table the government's response to two significant reports on the ACT's Human Rights Act 2004, The Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT): the first five years of operation and the Australian Capital Territory economic, social and cultural rights research project report.

Under section 44 of the Human Rights Act I am required to undertake a five-year review of the operation of the Human Rights Act and report to the Assembly by July 2009. In accordance with that provision, on 18 August 2009 I tabled, as the review, the independent research paper The Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT): the first five years of operation, a report to the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety prepared by the ACT human rights act research project at the Australian National University.

In that report, which was conducted over a five-year period, the research team assessed the implementation and impact of the Human Rights Act on governance in the ACT over its first five years of operation. In general, the report found that "one of the clearest effects of the Human Rights Act has been to improve the quality of law making in the territory, to ensure that human rights concerns are given due consideration in the framing of new legislation and policy".

The report also found that "there is little doubt that the implementation of the Human Rights Act so far has involved important advances in the endeavour to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights in the ACT".

In conducting their research the project team found that the Human Rights Act has, overall, succeeded in fostering a fledgling human rights culture in the ACT, including a shift in attitudes towards human rights and the way that agencies undertake their work. Many agencies, particularly those with a service delivery focus, are exploring opportunities to better serve the community. This has meant the development of human rights compliant policies, legislation and operational practices.


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