Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2384 ..

handful of people, so we will support this amendment. At the same time, we emphatically restate our support for the unified voices of parents, carers and experts alike that have long been calling for greater accountability and clearer, easier access to fair and open review of care and protection decisions. In consultation with stakeholders this was the single greatest worry raised by this bill. If this government is going to make important decisions on behalf of children and young people—decisions that sometimes involve quite literally matters of life and death, as the very existence of the Glanfield inquiry reminds us—it does not matter how many people are charged with making them, those decisions need to open to review. The dedicated and hardworking staff charged with making such decisions need to have the full support and commitment of this government so they no longer find themselves in dangerous situations that the legislation was designed to avoid.

Having once again raised these serious concerns, I commend this bill, as drafted, to the Assembly.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.00): The Greens, of course, support the objectives of the government’s out of home care strategy, A step up for our kids, and we support the importance of these amendments to give full effect to the strategy and to ensure that the recommendations of the Glanfield inquiry are followed through as intended. The bill does this by enabling, in limited circumstances assessment of allegations of abuse or neglect by a parent or a person with daily care responsibility, child and protection services to undertake an appraisal without being required to obtain agreement from a parent or a person with daily care responsibility.

As part of our commitment to social justice and social inclusion, the Greens are committed to minimising the harm to children and young people in the child protection system, and we firmly support efforts to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the children affected. This, of course, includes ensuring that decisions about care and protection are made by those who best know and understand the child or young person’s individual or family circumstances.

We are satisfied that the decision-making and delegation functions of this bill support decisions being made in the best interests of children and young people with appropriate safeguards to ensure that it occurs only where necessary to ensure the safety of the child or young person. The Greens, therefore, are happy to support this bill.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (12.01), in reply: I do not intend to speak for very long given that this bill has the support of the Assembly, and I thank members for that support and their contributions. I also take the opportunity to thank the scrutiny committee for their consideration of the bill, and the officials who worked on drafting the bill.

I will not go through all of the bill again, but I will comment on a couple of assertions Mrs Kikkert made. As Mrs Kikkert said, the act allows for limited appraisals without

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video