Page 1072 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 9 May 2023
The committee notes that, in the government response to the petition, the Chief Minister has stated:
The ACT government will continue to closely monitor this proposed development and will actively engage with New South Wales as details are made available, including regarding any potential or direct risk to human health or the environment.
Given the Chief Minister’s comments contained in the government response and the ongoing work the ACT government is undertaking to provide a submission to the public consultation process currently underway in New South Wales, the committee will not be inquiring further into the matters raised in petition 12-22.
Justice (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023
Mr Rattenbury, by leave, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong-Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.17): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
I am pleased to present the Justice (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to the Assembly today. Currently across Australia, children as young as 10 years old can be charged, arrested and placed in detention on remand or if they are found guilty of committing a criminal offence. We know from the available evidence that, when children and young people become involved in the criminal justice system, particularly if they are incarcerated, it leads to worse community outcomes and higher recidivism rates.
Today is a very significant day for the ACT, marking a change in how we perceive criminality and how we approach young people engaged in harmful behaviour. Our approach will change to recognise that offending in young people primarily stems from difficult life circumstances, and that providing treatment and support benefits everyone in the community. The bill marks the culmination of years of work as we take steps to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the territory. It implements a key part of the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement.
The bill will raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years. The ACT will be the second jurisdiction, after the Northern Territory, to raise the age and the first jurisdiction in Australia to raise it to 14 years. Raising the age to 14 not only reflects international human rights standards and ACT community expectations but also aligns with the expectations of many Australians. For these reasons, I am immensely proud to present this bill to the Assembly today.