Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2016) . . Page.. 789 ..
I agreed to this new structure in the Assembly in February because I think it is a suitable balance that will assist the officers to perform their important functions in an administratively efficient way and, in some circumstances, will also assist the public to utilise the services of the office holders. As an example of the consequential amendments, the bill updates the language in several acts so that instead of using the phrase, “Public Trustee” it uses the term “Public Trustee and Guardian”. It also fixes minor drafting errors.
As well as making consequential amendments the bill also finetunes some aspects of the scheme. It provides, for example, that the President of the Human Rights Commission has to consult with the other commissioners when developing the governance and corporate support protocol. This is a minor but sensible change that reflects the ongoing importance of the commissioners in the structure of the commission. There are several other minor amendments that reflect feedback from the commissioners and which support the day-to-day workability of the new scheme.
The bill also makes several minor amendments to definitions and other provisions to support the operation of the new scheme to ensure all acts are up to date and consistent. For example, it updates the definition of “forensic patient” in the act to align it with definitions in the Mental Health Act 2015 and the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Act 2014 which have recently commenced.
Lastly, I note that the bill inserts a new provision into the Human Rights Commission Act. This will ensure that after three years the government reviews the new structure of the Human Rights Commission and the Public Trustee and Guardian. This was a concept I raised during the debate in February about the new structure of the commission and the Public Trustee, and I welcome the attorney inserting this review clause into the legislation. I think it is important that after a suitable period we again review how the revised structure is performing to ensure it is operating as efficiently and effectively as it should and that it has met the expectations that were intended during this restructuring of the office.
On that basis, I will be supporting this legislation because I think it makes necessary improvements to fulfil the objectives of the recent amendments.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (4.16), in reply: I thank members for their comments on the bill. As members have indicated, this bill is a consequential amendment bill driven by the Assembly’s adoption of the Protection of Rights (Services) Legislation Bill in the last sitting of the Assembly. This provides of course for a new structure and governance for the Human Rights Commission and establishes a new Public Trustee and Guardian office. This bill makes consequential changes to 35 pieces of legislation. It highlights the role of the commission and the public trustee in the ACT protection of rights framework.
I believe these are important changes that embed the governance changes in the new protection of rights act that has been adopted by this place and, most importantly, it provides for a Human Rights Commission model which is much more akin to the