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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 163 ..


In relation to Mrs Kikkert’s first question, and the external review and the work that I mentioned earlier, we are also doing a lot of work on internal decision-making and internal review of decisions, which can be rolled out without changes to the Children and Young People Act. We are also implementing, from early next year, a therapeutic children’s court for child protection matters, which will also help to ensure that parents and families are fairly heard in these matters. So there is a lot of work going on in this space. I am not currently able to put an exact time frame on amendments to the Children and Young People Act, but there is a lot that we can do in practice as well as in legislation.

MS LEE: Minister, will the promised charter of rights include the right to access family group conferencing before a care and protection matter is referred to the Childrens Court and, if not, why not?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for her supplementary question. It was the last ACT Labor government that introduced access to family group conferencing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, recognising that this is an evidence-based way of approaching things. It is not necessarily going to be possible for every family to have access to family group conferencing before emergency action is taken. Sometimes it is necessary to take emergency action to secure the safety of a child or young person, and that has to absolutely always be the priority in the child and youth protection system.

But absolutely we are continuing to work towards a more restorative child and youth protection system. That is exactly why we are introducing the therapeutic court process. Some families will not engage until they are at the point where they are going to a court process. That is why making the court process itself more therapeutic, more restorative, more like a family group conference, is an important part of our reform. But we also remain committed to continuing to embed family group conferencing as part of our processes.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—government policy

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Minister, how is the ACT government supporting new and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her question. The ACT government is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations to grow and thrive in the ACT. We know that it is only through self-determination that we will be able to deliver equitable life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.

The New and Emerging Organisations Support Program encourages the establishment of new community-controlled organisations and those that are in their infancy. Founding a community-controlled organisation is a complex process that requires significant engagement with many people in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. I am delighted that Yerrabi Yurwang Child and Family Aboriginal


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