Page 1986 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022
Amendment agreed to.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Ordered that executive business be called on.
Domestic Violence Agencies Amendment Bill 2022
Debate resumed from 24 March 2022, on motion by Ms Berry:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.29): I rise today to resume the debate on the Domestic Violence Agencies Amendment Bill, which was first presented to the Assembly on 24 March this year. I wish to take the opportunity to make clear my absolute commitment to improving responses to, as well as reducing, incidences of domestic and family violence in this city.
The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill today, which serves to refresh the powers, functions and membership structure of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council in the ACT, which was first established in 1998. The bill will equip the council, referred to as the DVPC, with more powers in order to improve its functions, such as the power to establish and convene reference groups such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group, appointing the role of committee chair through the agreement of a member majority, and giving the DVPC the flexibility to set its own meeting schedule and frequency, as opposed to the current requirement of holding a meeting at least once every quarter.
In addition, rather than appointing individuals to the DVPC, the membership structure has shifted so that individuals are appointed in their capacity to formally represent their relevant organisation. The bill will also formally abolish the obsolete role of domestic violence project coordinator, which has been replaced by the Office of the Coordinator-General for Family Safety. The Canberra Liberals are committed to supporting all legislation that supports victims. We are committed to supporting all legislation that enables better mechanisms and decision-making to achieve better outcomes for individuals, families and communities in the ACT.
I would like to note a couple of things in relation to the bill, however. Section 5 of the current legislation, as it stands, provides for a single objective for the DVPC—that is, to reduce the incidence of family violence offences. I observe that this objective has been removed without any substitution and the bill proposes that there only be a clause to detail the functions of the DVPC.
Whilst I recognise that the functions of the council, as detailed in the bill, should hopefully serve the original objective and more, I wish to highlight the risk of losing accountability where the functions of the council do not result in actual reduction of