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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 8 (17 August) . .

Page.. 2895..


People's Commissioner. I remind this Assembly that the former commissioner threw up his hands in despair and stopped dealing with most CYPS complaints in 2013 and that the current commissioner has publicly noted her inability to handle all the complaints her office receives. I sincerely hope the additional funding being provided to this office helps to alleviate this incapacity, but even a less overworked commission is still an oversight mechanism, not the repeatedly recommended review mechanism.

Last, the minister mentioned that some administrative decisions are reviewable by ACAT. This is at best an attempt at deflection. As Mr Glanfield himself clearly stated in his report to the government, the most important decisions, such as care plans, the amending of care plans, and the decision not to provide information to a child's parents—the very decisions, in fact, that are central to people's concerns—are precisely the ones not currently reviewable by ACAT.

For far too long, successive Labor governments in this chamber have turned a blind eye to concerns raised by parents and carers. Perhaps they think such people are too simple to know what they are saying. But, increasingly, experts in child protection have voiced the same concerns. If the mechanisms that are already in place were enough, we would not be having this discussion, and we most likely would not have needed the Glanfield inquiry. The minister has this morning foreshadowed the possibility of future changes. All l can say is that it is about time. In fact, why has it taken so long to seriously address this issue? Whenever children are potentially at risk of harm, I expect this government to act with urgency.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Holidays (Reconciliation Day) Amendment Bill 2017

Ms Stephen-Smith, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.37): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am happy to introduce the Holidays (Reconciliation Day) Amendment Bill 2017. The purpose of this bill is to make a Reconciliation Day public holiday, commencing in 2018. This is a commitment the government made last year that was confirmed in a motion in this place in August 2016. The bill introduces Reconciliation Day, to be held on the first Monday on or after 27 May, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the first day of National Reconciliation Week. Next year, this will be Monday, 28 May.


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