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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4036 ..

This bill does not risk such an outcome. It does not risk such an outcome because it does not radically expand the scope of appeals. It does not make development approvals vulnerable to challenge months or years after they are granted. It does not permit the appeal process to be used as a tool to defeat legitimate market competition.

Instead, what this bill does is set out a measured, practical mechanism for resolving anomalies in public notification where those anomalies are discovered sufficiently early in the assessment process. This, Mr Speaker, in conjunction with the administrative measures I have outlined, will make an already effective notification system even better. It will result in a system that is equitable and effective but, most importantly, able to produce timely decisions on which landowners, industry and the community can rely.

The bill also reflects the good work ACTPLA’s staff are doing, and I thank them again. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Seselja) adjourned to the next sitting.

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2010

Ms Burch, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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) (12.06): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2010. The bill establishes a statutory framework for background checking and risk assessment of people working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults in the ACT.

This government is committed to the support and protection of vulnerable people in the ACT. This legislative framework will mandate background checking of people working with vulnerable people. It is generally acknowledged that organisations providing services to vulnerable people in the ACT have an obligation to provide services in a safe and supportive manner. The exclusion of people with a known history of inappropriate behaviour is fundamental to creating and maintaining a safe environment.

Some organisations are proactive, already background-checking employees and volunteers. However, even in these cases, organisational policies vary in regard to who is checked, what is checked and how often checks are undertaken. Under current informal arrangements, sensitive personal information can be disclosed to employers.

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