Page 1990 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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family violence in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. My colleague has already spoken about the critical importance of this reference group.

The addition of further reference groups will allow a wide range of voices to be heard and support the introduction of new and important policy considerations. Canberra continues to grow and to strive to be an inclusive city in all ways. These changes to the membership support that aspiration. I understand that recruitment for the new Domestic Violence Prevention Council is underway and I look forward to seeing the diverse group of members who will be appointed.

I am convinced that the reforms in this bill will help to strengthen the ACT’s response to domestic and family violence by supporting governance, increasing collaboration and integration and ensuring diverse contributions to this important work. In ending, I want to acknowledge victim-survivors and people with lived and living experience of domestic and family violence. The bill delivers reforms that I believe will ultimately support all victim-survivors in the ACT to access a response that works for them. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (4.43), in reply: I am pleased that the Assembly has had an opportunity today to debate the Domestic Violence Agencies Amendment Bill.

The ACT government is committed to effective and evidence-based responses to prevent and reduce domestic and family violence, support victim-survivors to recover and heal in safety and hold perpetrators accountable in appropriate ways. To do this effectively, collaboratively and strategically, we need leadership and governance to continuously strengthen our responses. The bill introduces a series of reforms to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council which will support this objective and improve its capacity to guide the ACT’s response to domestic and family violence.

We know that an integrated service system that supports coordination and collaboration between government and the community is vital to develop effective and accessible supports for victim-survivors. A robust government and leadership body made up of diverse membership across government and the community sector helps us to deliver such a system.

As the primary governance mechanism for domestic and family violence responses in the ACT, the bill ensures that the council has the appropriate functions to drive this collaboration and integration in whole-of-territory responses to domestic and family violence. Since its establishment over 20 years ago, the council has made vital contributions to improving our understanding of domestic and family violence in the ACT and inform our responses to take action. Again, I thank and commend all of the current and former members of the council for their tireless contributions to this work. The changes in this bill will build on the achievements of the current and previous councils by adapting the body for the current environment.

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