Page 2013 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023
Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill 2023
Debate resumed from 30 March 2023, on motion by Ms Stephen-Smith:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (11.15): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. The bill implements the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers, which was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments Health Council in 2015. The national code will protect the public by setting minimum standards of conduct and practice for all workers providing a health service and to address the gap in the regulation of health services provided by those who are not registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
As well as applying to unregistered health care workers, the code will also apply to registered health practitioners who provide health services unrelated to their registration. This legislation will allow the investigation of complaints in relation to possible breaches of the code and facilitate effective action to be taken against a worker who fails to comply with the minimum standards of the code of practice.
This bill will align the ACT with other jurisdictions in Australia and address the current inconsistencies in regulation of unregistered health care workers.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.16): I rise to speak to the Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill 2023. This bill supports the right of Canberrans to receive health care that meets safe minimum standards by implementing the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers.
Workers that are registered under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme have their own regulated minimum stands and ethical conduct codes. Now health care workers outside of the scheme will be able to come under the national code implemented by this bill providing for safe and ethical health services in previously unregulated workforces.
These reforms are long overdue following the beginning of a national process in 2010 to assess regulatory gaps and the commitment by the COAG Health Council in 2015 to implement the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers across all states and territories. The ACT Greens proudly support this bill.
Health workers that will fall under the code who were previously unregulated include professionals such as counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers, dental assistants and technicians, massage therapists, naturopaths and exercise physiologists. This bill is not a commentary on the quality of services provided by these industries. I fully believe that all health professionals want to provide their communities with the best care possible. This merely safeguards health care consumers in rare cases of malpractice. Many people come into contact with these health professionals incidentally. For example, when I go to the dentist they will be covered under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme but the dental assistant will not be.