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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 February 2011) . . Page.. 235 ..

and supply qualitative information as to why a child or young person has died. The aim is to improve our understanding, our responses, our planning and our policy development and ultimately help prevent such deaths in future.

To give a bit of a run-through of what has happened to date, since tabling this bill in August 2010, I have met with several stakeholders who have universally supported the bill. All these stakeholders have a keen interest because they are responsible for keeping children and young people safe, healthy and well. I have subsequently listened to their advice and concerns as well as those of other members of this place, particularly Mrs Dunne and the scrutiny committee.

I must express my disappointment at the government’s reluctance to join in that conversation and lack of providing the Greens and me with the proposed amendments in a timely manner. I would echo the words of Mrs Dunne that this really has been not a great example of how we can work together in that, as I said, six months ago, when I tabled this bill, I did flag that I would be bringing it up a couple of months later.

I then put that off so that it could be brought up at the end of the year. I was told by the government that they were not in a position at that stage. I agreed that it would be put off until February. Again, there were about three months where really some action should have been taken to get those amendments together in a timely manner. So I must express some frustration at all of that.

That means, of course, that this evening we are only going to be finishing the in-principle stage and we will have to put off the detail stage to another sitting week. In that time there will be conversations and there has been agreement between Mrs Dunne, Ms Burch and me to sit down and work through some of the amendments that have been put forward and some of the issues. But I am pleased to see that there is tripartisan support for the bill and obviously there just needs to be some negotiation about particular details and amendments that will be brought forward.

Based on feedback we received from several sources, including the scrutiny committee, we will be proposing a number of amendments that are hoped to strengthen and tighten the legislative base from which the Child and Young People Death Review Committee will operate. I will be bringing forward some amendments, as I said, that provide clarification on issues such as the functions of the committee in relation to the individual death of a child or young person and the length of appointment of committee members.

The amendments will also strengthen some technical aspects of the bill that will guide the terms of the committee, such as a meeting schedule each year. Other amendments have been made to ensure privacy, confidentiality and de-identification are clearly provided to the children, young people and families concerned and to ensure consistency between this bill and the Children and Young People Act 2008.

In concluding, we are currently, as I said, continuing negotiations with Mrs Dunne and Ms Burch. We will refine the amendments to ensure a smooth transition through the Assembly. And we are looking forward to the new review process becoming a part of the mechanisms that work towards prevention of child or young people deaths in the territory.

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