Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 November 2022) . . Page.. 3593 ..
It is disappointing that the ACT appears to be the last, again, to implement nationally agreed reforms. The Canberra Liberals strongly support these proposed amendments to those two acts, which will bring the ACT in line with several other jurisdictions and with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
As I have mentioned, it is unfortunate that we are, under this Labor-Greens government, the wooden spooners when it comes to legalising national reforms. It happened earlier this year, with the implementation of the national real estate training package, as part of the Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill. Again, it is disappointing that we are not at the forefront, as opposed to being well and truly behind others.
I do want to thank the department, the Attorney-General and his officials for the briefing in July this year. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this omnibus bill.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.06), in reply: This bill is an omnibus bill, as Mr Cain has noted, which makes a range of minor and technical or non-controversial amendments to legislation, primarily within my portfolio as Attorney-General.
The need for the amendments has been identified through direct consultation with government directorates and agencies, and the community. While many of the changes contained in this bill are minor, technical and non-controversial, they are nevertheless significant to ensure the proper functioning of our government and legal system and improve the administration and operation of the territory’s laws.
The changes will also make improvements that are compatible with and promote human rights. One of the substantive and most significant measures progressed through this JACS bill is amendments to the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2022 and the Limitation Act 1985 to allow for the setting aside of past unjust settlements in cases of child abuse. These amendments reflect the ACT government’s commitment to access to justice for survivors who were abused as children.
Importantly, the amendments are designed to remedy past injustices and, by allowing access to fairer compensation in appropriate cases, will promote access to an effective remedy. The bill will remove legal barriers and provide a clear pathway for access to justice for survivors of child abuse. The ACT government continues to acknowledge the nature and impact of the abuse suffered by victims of child abuse.
Many survivors of child abuse suffer long-lasting and severe injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives. This bill is another reflection of the government’s commitment to access to justice for survivors who were abused as children. The bill builds on the ACT government’s previous reforms in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.