Page 2017 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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expansion of her role—more than $1.32 million over the forward estimates.
This funding will support implementation of the national code by allocating staffing resources to manage the complaints process and conduct public education for health providers about their obligations under the code, including support for health providers to comply with the code, and to establish a consumer navigation service.

Since the Council of Australian Governments Health Council agreed to the terms of the national code in 2015, multiple rounds of community consultation have been conducted in the ACT between 2018 and 2022. On 24 January this year I hosted a targeted consultation roundtable with key industrial and consumer organisations, including the ACT branches of the Community and Public Sector Union, the Australian Education Union, the United Workers Union, the Health Services Union, the Health Care Consumers Association, Professionals Australia and the Health Services Commissioner. Input from all stakeholders has informed the amendments proposed in this bill.

This is a significant bill. The bill has some minor interactions with the right to privacy and the right to presumption of innocence under the Human Rights Act. The Attorney-General has considered the bill and issued a statement of compatibility with the Human Rights Act 2004. These interactions are further detailed in the explanatory statement accompanying the bill.

I want to thank the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for their thorough consideration of the bill, particularly regarding the prohibition and control orders. As I advised in my response letter to the standing committee scrutiny process, I consider that the bill does not limit section 24 of the Human Rights Act 2004, which prevents the duplication of punishment for an offence. The purpose of an order prohibiting a healthcare worker from providing unsafe health services will be to protect the public from a serious risk to their health and safety if the worker were to continue to provide the service. Accordingly, the power to make the prohibition order is of a civil and regulatory nature, rather than punitive.

In making an order like this, the Health Services Commissioner must be satisfied that a serious public health and safety risk can be established separately, and in addition to, any offences under the bill. Any limitations on human rights are justifiable as reasonable limits set by laws in a free and democratic society, as required by section 28 of the Human Rights Act. Importantly, the bill also supports and strengthens the protection of several rights and objectives under the Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Commission will take a proportionate approach to implementation and other arrangements, including going out proactively to all health workers and key stakeholder organisations including practice peak bodies, unions and Capital Health Network, with information on the code of conduct and their obligation to comply with the code of conduct. The Human Rights Commission will also work with the Health Care Consumers Association on an educational and promotional strategy for health workers and consumers. As noted, the Human Rights Commission will gain two full-time staff through the 2023-24 budget to support the work around implementation.

In summary, this bill, as with the regulation of health professionals under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, aims to protect the public, particularly those


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