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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 25 February 2010) . . Page.. 738 ..


We understand that the movement of a reporter’s information from protected to sensitive classification is the reasoning for the final amendment in the bill.

We know that the nature of this work is difficult. It is emotive, very sensitive and at times involves danger and risk for children, families, community members and police. For these reasons we need to ensure that children and young people have every opportunity to be protected in the ACT. To do this, allegations need to be investigated and evidence collected in order to prove or disprove the allegations of criminal acts that are reported.

It is unfortunate but we do know that allegations of child abuse and neglect can occur in a vexatious manner within the community. In particular, they can come up in Family Court matters. This amendment does not affect the ability of a court to request the information about reports made to Care and Protection Services. However, there is provision made for the department to make a submission about why or why not this would be in the best interests of the child. Therefore, we have in place opportunities to continue to protect the child and the person making the original report.

I call on the minister and the department to monitor these amendments to the act and, of course, the act itself to ensure that the best interests of the child or young person remain paramount. The ACT Greens will be supporting the bill today.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (12.20), in reply: I thank members for their contributions and I thank all those with an interest in this.

Firstly, can I just make a comment to Mrs Dunne, who continues to throw fear and loathing onto the COAG reform and onto portable long service leave. I say again to Mrs Dunne that I really do not know what she has against quality childcare, against improved ratios for workers or indeed against supporting workers within the sector.

In December I tabled amendments to the Children and Young People Act 2008. This significant piece of legislation was passed by the ACT Assembly in 2008 and was implemented in July 2009. The legislation is broad and encompasses child protection, youth justice, the regulation of childcare licences and the employment of children in the territory.

Since its implementation, minor issues have arisen through practice that needed amendment. These amendments are needed to ensure clear interpretation or strengthening of clauses to reflect the initial intention of the act and to ensure the ongoing care and protection of children and young people in the territory. The Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2) proposes amendment in two areas of the Children and Young People Act 2008. These are the provision of temporary childcare exemptions and information and secrecy provisions.

Early childhood education and childcare services are crucial services for children and families in the ACT. Childcare provisions of the act provide the Chief Executive of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services with regulatory


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