Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 8 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2383..
As I said in presenting the bill, while it is in response to a particular incident and the subsequent advice of the Solicitor-General, the bill is a proactive step forward that is focused on ensuring that we provide the best possible care and that all the protections in place apply in every circumstance. The bill will remove any doubt that the scheme is mandatory and that the range of options for the care of children and young people in care is confined by the act to ensure that every possible protection that we can put in place is in place and applied properly.
The main feature of the bill is that rather than leaving a general discretion for the placement of children and young people, the bill provides that the director-general must place a child or young person with an out-of-home carer. This in turn means that the protections in place for assessing the suitability of out-of-home carers must be applied to ensure that the people we trust to look after this particularly vulnerable group are capable of doing the job well.
The bill also sets up the limited circumstances where a child or young person may be placed somewhere other than in the care of an out-of-home carer. A particular feature of these provisions that is not currently set out in the act is the requirement that when a child or young person is placed in an independent living arrangement or in the care of a medical facility there are particular requirements that must be met. These are what should be being done anyway, but I think that it is worthwhile that we clearly articulate our expectations in the act to ensure that these things do occur in every case.
Similarly, the bill will ensure that care plans are in place and implemented. Care plans are very important for the wellbeing of children and young people. When the territory is effectively the parent for these children and young people, we have an obligation to do all we can, to provide all the supports and services to help them find their way in very difficult circumstances.
Again, I would like to thank members for their support of the bill. Particularly I would like to thank Minister Burch and her staff, and the staff from the Community Services Directorate, for the detailed conversations that we were able to work through in discussing this issue. I am confident that this will be a positive change for the care provided to those we have the greatest responsibility to care for.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.
Fair Trading (Fuel Prices) Amendment Bill 2013
Debate resumed from 16 May 2013, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.