Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3920 ..
Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee (Legislative Scrutiny Role)—Scrutiny Report 24, dated 28 November 2022, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.
I seek leave to make a brief statement.
MR CAIN: Scrutiny report No 24 contains the committee’s comments on 12 pieces of subordinate legislation and one government response. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Motion (by Mr Gentleman) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the adjournment debates on 30 November and 1 December 2022 being extended to a maximum of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner Bill 2022
Debate resumed from 21 September 2022, on motion by Ms Cheyne:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.59): I and the rest of the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this important bill today. The recommendation to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner was made in the Our Booris, Our Way final report in December 2018 and that was almost four years ago.
This piece of legislation has been a long time coming—so long, in fact, that in order to alleviate some of the growing frustration and disappointment within the Indigenous community, the government was compelled to introduce funding for a temporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families Advocate in last year’s budget. Despite repeatedly advertising this position, however, the government managed to fill it only 2½ weeks ago. I sincerely hope that the government will be much better at successfully recruiting someone for the new commissioner position created by this bill.
The delay in establishing the office of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people commissioner has not been the only issue that has worried the Indigenous community throughout this process. Stakeholders have also shared with me their concerns that the new commissioner will not do what many community members believe is needed to see real change occur. As one person put it to me: “We do not need another toothless commissioner.”
Concerns such as these are certainly justified. In 2004 Cheryl Vardon submitted a report on the territory’s child protection system to the then Labor government. In the