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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (18 February) . .

Page.. 665..


There has recently been some conversation in the chamber regarding definitions of "children" and "young person" in legislation and in practice in relation to the government response to the standing committee inquiry on the most recent human rights amendment bill. As I said then, I am happy to have further conversations with stakeholders and other members to ensure that we have a clear and consistent understanding across government about these definitions.

I understand these amendments have been developed in close consultation with the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association of the ACT and also with the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, the Human Rights Commission as represented by the Health Services Commissioner, the Children and Young People Commissioner and the human rights commissioner. I welcome that extensive consultation, and I am happy to support this bill.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (5.22), in reply: I thank members for their support of this bill. Members have highlighted the various important amendments that are made by this bill to relevant ACT health legislation. Can I simply restate the significance of this bill in relation to ensuring that people who administer naloxone in an emergency situation will be able to be given sufficient legal protections as a result of this bill today. Naloxone saves lives. It reverses the effects of a heroin or other opiate overdose. It means that people can get the assistance they need when it is most needed.

The evaluation of implementing and expanding the naloxone availability program was received by the government last year. That evaluation confirmed that since the naloxone trial was first introduced here in the ACT it had been effective in providing prescriptions to potential overdose victims, with over 200 participants. In particular, it had documented that there were 57 overdose reversals undertaken with naloxone administered by non-medical staff with no adverse events. So there were 57 occasions when a potentially lethal overdose was reversed without any adverse consequences whatsoever.

We need to make sure that when people are administering naloxone they have legal protection, and that they cannot be held to some liability simply because they administered it and something subsequently went wrong, as long as, of course, they acted in good faith and without any element of inappropriate behaviour. That amendment alone makes this bill worth passing today, and I thank members very much for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


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