Page 1931 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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This will allow all survivors of child abuse in the ACT the opportunity to receive equal treatment before the law, by enabling those who suffered abuse as children to bring claims for damages, regardless of when the abuse occurred and type of abuse experienced. Previous legislative reform in the ACT removed the limitation period for survivors of child sexual abuse to bring personal injury claims. This bill expands on these reforms by removing limitation periods on causes of action for personal injury resulting from child physical abuse. Limitation periods are often a significant barrier to survivors pursuing civil litigation.

The bill recognises that all forms of abuse experienced by a child are deserving of appropriate access to justice and compensation through the legal system. The bill further recognises that survivors of all forms of abuse may take significant periods of time to understand, process and act upon the harm caused by their abuse, and that limitation periods have the practical effect of denying a survivor the opportunity to access the legal system.

The amendments promote equity between survivors of child abuse by recognising that child physical abuse can, equally to child sexual abuse, cause significant personal injury and ongoing trauma for survivors of such abuse. Survivors of all forms of child abuse should have equal access to civil litigation, regardless of when such abuse occurred. By removing the limitation period for personal injury claims, survivors of child physical abuse will no longer be prevented from bringing an action because a prescribed period of time has passed.

This legislation has been crafted to help remedy the injustices of the past. Survivors of all forms of child abuse deserve, and have always deserved, adequate compensation for the grave personal injuries they have shouldered through no fault of their own. Recompense must be adequate by today’s standards. This legislation must operate in a way that benefits survivors and holds offending institutions to account.

Again, I offer my sincere thanks to those who participated so generously in the targeted consultation process for this legislative reform, particularly the survivors and their advocates. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Amendment Bill 2022

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.47): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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