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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 May 1995) . . Page.. 152 ..


MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I do not think that is a supplementary question. As for giving the ACT Planning Authority control over the site, that is a matter for continuing negotiations, as the Chief Minister indicated, depending on the way in which this particular arrangement is conducted. If members opposite think that, having reached agreement in those circumstances, suddenly a document magically appears on the table with all the details contained within it, then clearly they are deluding themselves, or more likely deluding everybody else in the Territory, about the way in which these things occur.

Members should be aware that this was a decision taken shortly before a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments. It was the basis on which the ACT was to enter into a final round of negotiations at that meeting about the ACT's position. At that stage the arrangement between the Commonwealth and the ACT was settled, in consultation with other members of the ACT Government. I stress that. As to the exact role that the ACT Planning Authority will play, the NCPA will play, and so on, that is a matter for the final wording of the agreement between those two governments. I am as satisfied as the Chief Minister that at the end of the day we will have an agreement which enormously enhances the position of tourism, culture, and the people of the Territory generally.

Child Abuse

MR OSBORNE: My question is addressed to the Minister for Housing and Family Services, Mr Stefaniak. Would the Minister please provide the Assembly with an explanation as to why the mandatory reporting of child abuse cases has been deferred for another year? Would the Minister please provide the Assembly with an explanation surrounding events leading to the recent refusal of staff in the Child Protection Unit to take on any new inquiries due to “an inhuman workload”? What steps is the Minister taking to rectify the problem?

Mr Berry: We move them on now, Ossie.

MR STEFANIAK: I thank Mr Osborne for the question. He probably likes being moved along. Maybe you should, Wayne. In relation to mandatory reporting, Mr Osborne, the ACT Government is committed to the introduction of mandatory reporting. As the Chief Minister has said on a number of public occasions recently, we will not introduce it until the proper training has occurred. I believe that that view would be supported by most of my fellow members. Certainly, it is supported by most relevant people out there in the community. All the groups that the Chief Minister and I have seen have impressed that upon us and that is something we certainly bear in mind.

A range of issues will need to be addressed with other government agencies and community organisations before the Government can commit to a date for its introduction. Those issues include the need to clearly define the categories of mandated persons and any required legislative changes arising from that; very importantly, the scope of training required for mandated persons; and the need for additional resources relating to the expected increase in notifications of child abuse in the areas of child protection investigation, and also the anticipated consequent increase in demand for substitute care


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