Page 1708 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022
I would also like to thank the Human Rights Commissioner for engaging in productive consultation with the government throughout the development of the bill. The strong commitment to engagement has meant that the bill has a strong focus on human rights, which the government is committed to. While I acknowledge that the Human Rights Commissioner had sought some further amendments to the bill, I am pleased the government will be bringing forward balanced amendments that address the key issues that have been raised.
Further to the amendments I have mentioned, the government will also move an amendment to require the Chief Health Officer to notify and provide the Public Advocate with the direction, where an individual is given a direction by the Chief Health Officer to segregate or isolate. This amendment will ensure that any individual subject to isolation requirements will be afforded an opportunity for the independent oversight of their circumstances.
The bill and the government amendments, which I will move in the detail stage, will ensure that the ACT government can continue to respond to COVID-19 in a proportionate and justified way, based on health advice while balancing key human rights principles and the needs of the community. While we recognise that COVID-19 continues to present risks to those most vulnerable and to the public health system more broadly, this legislation will enable the territory to step down from a public health emergency at the appropriate time and to continue moving towards living with COVID-19. Finally, I thank all those who spoke in the in-principle stage of this debate, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 4, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.29), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 4 circulated in my name together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the government amendments [see schedule 1 at page 1771].
Amendments agreed to.
MS LEE (Kurrajong-Leader of the Opposition) (11.29), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 5 circulated in my name together and table an explanatory statement to the amendments [see schedule 2 at page 1777].
The Canberra Liberals have always taken a measured approach to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the territory, acknowledging the need to balance public safety with individual rights and freedoms. An argument can be made that we need a