Page 2630 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Continuous engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community was identified in the co-design process as a priority for the new commissioner. The bill requires that, in exercising their functions, the commissioner must regularly engage with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and consult with children, young people and their families in ways that promote their participation in decision-making.
To promote transparency about the activities of the commissioner, the bill requires the commissioner to prepare an annual statement about their operations, which will be given to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. While the commissioner will operate independently, it is intended that they will complement other statutory roles, including the ACT Human Rights Commission. The bill encourages these two agencies to cooperate and avoid duplication.
To give effect to the functions and powers proposed for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner, amendments, as I flagged, are proposed to the Children and Young People Act 2008, the Children and Young People Regulation 2009, the Court Procedures Act 2004, the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 and the Official Visitor Act 2012.
I am pleased that the government committed to fully fund the commissioner and their office in the 2022-23 budget. The allocation of over $3½ million means that there will be a team dedicated to improving services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
I warmly thank everyone who has contributed to the design of this reform to date, including the Our Booris, Our Way Implementation Oversight Committee, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, co-design participants, the ACT Human Rights Commission, and the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research.
The co-design process has been critical in developing a model for the commissioner that meets the needs of the community and will make a tangible difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the ACT.
I am looking forward to working with the community on the implementation of this new statutory role, including the recruitment of the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner once the bill passes. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mrs Kikkert) adjourned to the next sitting.
Motion (by Mr Gentleman) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:
That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent Assembly Business, Notices numbers 1 to 4 being called on and debated forthwith.