Page 2411 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022
The final report summarises the key considerations discussed during the co-design process and sets out a proposed model for the new commissioner, arising from the process, providing a clear direction and road map for this important reform. I am pleased to confirm that the government response agrees to all aspects of the proposed legislative model developed by co-design participants.
The government will establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner as an independent statutory authority who will work in collaboration with existing human rights oversights mechanisms in the ACT. The new commissioner and their team will have a broad mandate to promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and to provide oversight of service systems affecting them. The commissioner will have a mix of individual and systemic advocacy functions and powers to undertake this role.
The Jumbunna report also recommended a range of non-legislative enablers to assist the commissioner to achieve effective outcomes for the community. The government will work with and support the commissioner in considering these recommendations.
In the tabling of this report and the government response today, I am pleased that this year’s budget has committed to fully fund the commissioner. Over $3.5 million will go to establish and staff the commissioner and their office so that there is a team dedicated to improving the services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
I would like to warmly thank all co-design participants who have generously shared their knowledge and experience to inform the design of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner. I would also like to thank the Jumbunna Institute, and particularly Professor Behrendt and Associate Professor Paul Gray, for their support and their deep expertise in facilitating this process with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. I am grateful for their report, which captures so well the views and aspirations of our community for this important statutory office.
The government is now developing legislation to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner, which I anticipate introducing to the Legislative Assembly later this year. I look forward to continuing to work with the community on this commitment. I commend the government response to the Assembly.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (3.12): I also want to rise on this National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day to acknowledge the tabling of Jumbunna Institute’s report on the co-design of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children Commissioner’s position and role.
I want to thank Minister Cheyne for the work she has done in supporting this process and everyone involved in the co-design process. It genuinely was a co-design and a very closely engaged process with the community. I am very pleased that we will soon see the commissioner established, and that we have been able to agree to all of