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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 October 2011) . . Page.. 4929 ..


amendments. I think that at the end of the day the separation was needed. It is unfortunate and I apologised earlier this morning. I will leave it there.

Amendments agreed to.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (5.10), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 4 circulated in my name together [see schedule 5 at page 4961].

The Greens’ proposed amendments to the bill seek to ensure that aspects of the legislation remain within the approval of the Assembly, specifically the risk assessment guidelines and exemptions. Currently, clauses 11 and 25 of the bill are written so that changes to the risk assessment guidelines and the exemptions are notifiable instruments, but the Greens are proposing that these be disallowable. This is the first time in Australia that there will be a background checking scheme such as this for people working with vulnerable adults. Therefore, making these guidelines disallowable means any changes proposed by the government can be debated in the Assembly, which I believe is an important protection with this significant legislation.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) (5.11): The government agree with the amendments put forward by the Greens which will permit legislative scrutiny of decisions on people who should be exempt from holding a working with vulnerable people registration when engaging in an activity for a declared state of emergency or an activity for an ACT or national event. That was with regard to amendment No 1. We agree with amendment No 2 as put forward by the Greens. The government also agree with amendment No 3.

Following the enactment of the bill it is anticipated that the risk assessment guidelines will be further refined in consultation with the ACT community and, as changes occur to the guidelines, the guidelines must continue to support the applicant’s human rights. Making the guidelines a disallowable instrument supports the government’s objective of guidelines being subject to ongoing community consultation and legislative scrutiny.

I thank Ms Bresnan for her earlier comments about recognising the conversation that the directorate has had with the community. We have been working extensively over the past many months to make sure that the conversation with the community sector has been meaningful and has brought enhancement, as has been recognised here, to this bill. The outcomes of the bill, I think, are very positive. That we would have such comprehensive checking systems now in place for the vulnerable in our community should be something that this Assembly should be proud of.

Amendments agreed to.

Remainder of bill as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.


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