Page 508 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 March 2023

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If such restricted medical treatments are proposed for a person with a variation in sex characteristics and they cannot make the decision for themselves then those treatments will need to be consistent with a treatment plan that has been approved by an assessment committee of the restricted medical treatment assessment board which is established by the bill. Assessment committees will be convened whenever a treatment plan application is received. The applications may be for an individual or for types of variation in sex characteristics or for particular types of treatment. The committees will be made up of people with relevant experience from the fields of medicine, human rights, ethics, psychosocial care and lived experience of variations in sex characteristics.

The committees will apply criteria set out in the legislation and will approve any application that meets the criteria. The central criteria are, first, that undertaking the treatment rather than deferring it is needed to avoid significant harm to the person, and, second, that the treatment proposed is the one that keeps the most options open for future treatment. The criteria also require committees to consider the views of the person who will be receiving the treatment and to test whether sufficient information and support has been provided to the person and their family before treatment is approved.

Once a treatment plan has been approved, treatment can occur, as is currently the case. If anyone affected by a treatment plan decision has a concern about the outcome, there are rights of decision review built into the legislation. They can seek a review by a fresh committee of the restricted medical treatment assessment board and, if still not satisfied, will have access to review by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

I am proud to introduce legislation which is an innovation at the forefront of reforms nationally and internationally. We have committed to a review of the legislation after its first two years of operation to address any issues that arise during the early stages of implementation. Annual reporting of medical interventions under treatment plans, as well as reporting on exempted treatments, will provide insights into the effectiveness of the scheme and provide evidence to support future review and refinement of the scheme. The scheme will have a phased implementation so that new supports are available immediately, avoiding disruptions to care for families already navigating these treatments.

The bill will be supported by a regulation which provides greater detail about what variations in sex characteristics are protected by the bill, as well as other details about the bill’s operation. I intend for this regulation to be in place prior to the commencement of this bill, if passed by this Assembly. I will be publishing a copy of the draft regulation, along with answers to frequently asked questions, on the Office of LGBTIQ+ Affairs website later today.

This morning I am encouraging all members in this place to read the draft regulation, in conjunction with the bill. I extend an offer to any member today who wishes to discuss this reform or to receive further briefings to get in touch with my office.

This bill is not about creating additional red tape in our hospitals or about curbing the rights of parents. This bill is about improving care for extremely vulnerable people,

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