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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . .

Page.. 1479..

The continued effective governance and work of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies is central to future opportunities for our young adults and, in turn, the continued economic and social wellbeing of our community. The bill acknowledges the work of the board and allows them to continue to deliver on improving student outcomes both in the territory and abroad. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Doszpot) adjourned to the next sitting.

Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 2)

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

As Minister for Children and Young People I am pleased to present the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 2). Child protection is difficult work and a difficult environment to work in. Risk is ever present and the issues presented by each case can be complex, but it is also very rewarding work to help a family stay together; to help them improve their relationships; to provide children and young people with an alternative loving home; to support a person's journey of change; and to help children and young people heal, to develop hope, aspirations and opportunities for the future, and to become independent adults.

As a government we have a responsibility to ensure that the organisations we fund to provide services to keep vulnerable children and young people safe are themselves child-safe organisations. In practice this means that those organisations operate their business in a way that puts the safety and wellbeing of children and young people above everything else—above loyalty to colleagues, above concerns about damage to their reputation, above threats to their funding sources. Their number one priority must be that vulnerable children and young people are safe and provided with the same opportunities in life as their peers.

Through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse we are learning a number of key lessons—as parents, as a community and as a government. A key issue is the need to protect our most vulnerable children and young people to ensure that those charged with keeping them safe are monitored and held to account for their achievement of this goal. We also know, through reviews of the ACT Public Advocate and the Auditor-General, that more can be done to ensure that the organisations providing these services on behalf of the ACT government are sustainable, effective, efficient and accountable, that they have the right systems in place and engage the right people who are able to achieve the best outcomes for the people that depend on them.

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