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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2618 ..

into overwhelming and burdensome paperwork. That is, I trust, a concern that the minister also shares and will continue to keep an eye on.

I thank the minister for the consultative approach she and her office have taken in progressing the various amendments to this bill. The result will be a piece of legislation that is more rigorous, is clearer in its intentions and minimises the risk of unintended consequences.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (11.52): I am pleased to join my colleagues in supporting the Senior Practitioner Bill 2018. The bill will bring into being an effective regulatory framework that will protect vulnerable people by reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices by service providers in the ACT.

It will establish a system where individuals are able to raise concerns and have their concerns about the use of restrictive practices investigated by the senior practitioner. In situations where the senior practitioner is satisfied that the use of a restrictive practice is not warranted, this bill will enable the senior practitioner to issue a direction for it to be stopped. From 1 July 2019, failure to comply with a direction of the senior practitioner may give rise to a criminal offence.

Just as importantly, the functions and powers set out in this bill put education, awareness raising and sector capacity building at the centre of the senior practitioner’s oversight role. The senior practitioner will have a vital leadership role in driving cultural change away from restrictive practices towards positive behaviour support alternatives, which will enhance a person’s dignity and protect their human rights and freedoms.

I understand that, during the extensive stakeholder consultations that have informed the development of this bill, members of the ACT community have expressed strong support for the educative role of the senior practitioner. While the bill provides clear definitions of restrictive practices, in line with national safeguards, we know that there is still a lot more work to be done to build awareness across the community of how to recognise and report them.

The senior practitioner will be an invaluable resource for service providers, clients and their families in helping them to understand their rights and responsibilities. The senior practitioner will have a key role in promoting the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices by developing guidelines and standards to drive best practice across a range of settings; disseminating information and providing education about what constitutes a restrictive practice, and affirming the rights of people who may be subject to them; providing advice and issuing directions to providers in response to issues raised; and using research evidence to promote best practice leadership across the sector.

The senior practitioner’s key objectives will be supported by the collection and reporting of data on the use of restrictive practices over time. This will help to ensure that education and awareness-raising activities are properly targeted. It will also enable the senior practitioner to monitor the impact of positive behaviour support plans, using the data to measure client outcomes.

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