Page 219 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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The bill also amends the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act to insert some of the new aggravated family violence offences into the schedule of disqualifying offences for the workers background checking scheme. Disqualifying offences are relevant to the assessment of whether a person can be given registration to engage in a regulated activity that involves contact with a vulnerable person.

Early identification and the exclusion of those who pose a risk to vulnerable people will lead to a reduction in the incidence of abuse, violence and exploitation. Background checking has a preventative effect in deterring individuals who pose a high risk of harm from seeking work or preventing them from working in the sector. Aggravated family violence offences have been added to the scheme where appropriate, based on maintaining consistency with the existing list of disqualifying offences to ensure the ongoing protection of vulnerable people.

Finally, the bill includes a requirement that a review of the Family Violence Act 2016 be conducted three years after the commencement of this bill, and that a report of that review be tabled in the Legislative Assembly. While this bill contains significant improvements to the ACT’s legislative framework for dealing with family violence, it is incumbent on us to remain vigilant to emerging issues and be open to new opportunities to better prevent and respond to family violence in our community. In particular, it will be important for this review to consider the impact of the aggravated sentencing regime, to ensure that no unintended consequences are arising. This review clause ensures that action will continue to be taken on this important issue.

As I mentioned earlier, the bill implements a number of recommendations from the Family Violence Act review, which brought together feedback from a range of stakeholders, including those with lived experience of family violence and those working in the front line. I would like to thank those contributors for their engagement with the review and for sharing their personal insights. The bill itself has been developed in close consultation with relevant stakeholders, and I wish to take this opportunity to also thank those stakeholders for their contributions to these important reforms.

The government is committed to building safer communities in Canberra and this bill contributes to that commitment. The bill recognises that those who use family violence must be held accountable for their actions and offers more effective protections to victims. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Domestic Animals Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.06): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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