Page 2327 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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(1) The Minister must—

(a) review the operation and effectiveness of this Act as soon as practicable after the end of 3 years after this section commences …

I note that the section and the act itself will commence the seventh day after notification of this act.

My amendment, very simply, is to reduce that three-year waiting time to two years. I base that submission on the fact that, as I mentioned this morning, the JACS inquiry, in its report of 14 April, in recommendation No 5, stated:

The Committee recommends that in two years from the commencement of the Act, the Attorney-General provide an update to the Assembly on the impact of the legislation.

The government’s response on 2 June agreed to provide an update on available evidence but committed to the three-year statutory review. So what I am proposing is within the spirit of what the government has actually agreed to do, and that is to review the operation of the act within two years rather than three years. I would prefer, and I think the community deserves, to have the certainty of that review within two years enshrined in the legislation.

Again, we have some uncertainties that may arise as a result of these heightened sentencing approaches. I think the community deserves to see a more timely review than is currently proposed. I raise it partly because the government itself has agreed to that. The JACS committee, after a full inquiry into this bill, recommended that to the government. So I am simply asking for this two-year time frame to be something that is mandated in the legislation. I think the community would expect that to be put in place.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (6.04): We are discussing the review of the legislation, and this is an important safeguard to ensure that the amendments are operating as intended. This will also assist the government to identify any further areas of improvements. So I think we all agree that this is worthwhile.

We acknowledge that there is ongoing work to be done to prevent and respond to domestic and family violence. I think that, through the passage of time, people understand better what is needed in the law. These amendments reflect that at this point in time. We will need to continue to monitor them. So I do not think there is any disagreement that we want to come back and have a look at this.

However, the government does not intend to support the amendments proposed by Mr Cain. I have two reasons for that. Firstly, my view, the government’s view and also the advice that we have received is that three years is a much more appropriate period to gather information on use, experience and data about how the Family Violence Act is functioning. Legal processes, of course, are not instantaneous.

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