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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 November 2011) . . Page.. 5383 ..


them in place, at risk. I think that is an unconscionable activity and nothing that I would hope that this Assembly would support that the director-general actually did nothing and allowed children to stay at risk.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, why is it all right, according to the Solicitor-General, for the directorate to place children with an organisation that does not have suitable entity status or does not hold general parental authorisation but it is not all right, according to the Government Solicitor, for that organisation to provide out-of-home care without those authorisations?

MS BURCH: Again, I think you are referring to the letter of 30 August. I think you have to look at that in context. It is very clear that the director-general, as territory parent, needs to make some very tough decisions, as do those that are delegated under him each and every day, out in the field, and removing children from risk. The ultimate aim of the territory as parent is to provide safe and secure placements for those children.

Again, I ask those opposite: what is the alternative? Are they suggesting that the director-general turn his back on those children at risk, walk away from them and leave them at risk, or does he provide suitable alternative accommodation? I think that any sensible man and woman in this community would think the director-general should be making sure that the good alternative is better than the worst.

MRS DUNNE: Supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, how is it possible that the government’s legal advisers could issue such diametrically opposed advices in such a short space of time?

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. The advice on the 30th was not advice that is saying that there was a breach of the act. It makes a comment about a provider not being registered as a suitable entity. Any other comment about how that does not align clearly was not taking into consideration the entitlement of the director-general to make placements as he needs to ensure the safety of the children.

Children and young people—education services

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People and it concerns the youth justice system. Minister, the Human Rights Commission’s report recommendation 12.15 recommended that segregated detainees be given equal access to education services. The government response noted the recommendation but in the comments said that it agreed with the Human Rights Commission that it is important that young people have access to education services subject to the particular circumstances and current resources. Minister, what exactly is the government’s


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