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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 615 ..

The Family Violence Act is not operating as it should, and Canberra’s families are paying the price. As lawmakers, the onus is on each and every one of us to make sure that not a single woman, man or child falls through the same cracks that Tara Costigan did in 2015.

Canberrans need to be able to trust their government when they are needed most. This is not the first time that this government have been told about serious concerns and serious inadequacies in the domestic and family violence area, and they have still done nothing. This is, rightly, of serious concern to the Canberra community. In moving forward, this government need to engage in meaningful consultation and more. They need to listen and they need to act. They can no longer bury their heads in the sand. Canberrans want, need and deserve action now.

I have brought this motion for debate today because we can never know the true extent of the horror of family violence in this city. We are talking about real people, real families, that are suffering whilst this government sat on a report for 12 months.

It is our duty, not only to the victims and victim survivors, but to every single person in Canberra, to get these laws right and to get them working as they were intended as soon as possible. I hope that I can count on the support of every member in this place to make sure that we reach the goal of having Canberra as a safe place where everyone is fully protected by our laws, by our institutions and by our community.

There are some serious changes that need to be made, and this government need to get to work before they see another horrific incident. I commend my motion to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (3.11): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this motion today. I do not agree with her characterisation of the situation, nor the motive she ascribes to members involved. But I do agree that there is no place for domestic and family violence in our community. It is abhorrent, and it is on all of us to do what we can to prevent it and address it.

Violence against women has been an issue dominating the public discourse in recent months and in our Assembly today. That attention is well deserved. Domestic and family violence is an issue overwhelmingly affecting women, and the government remains deeply committed to a continuing program of reforms.

As part of this commitment, we are working to ensure our services and laws are as effective as they can be to prevent family violence, to protect and support victims of family violence, and to hold perpetrators to account. This work is ongoing. As we develop our understanding of how domestic and family violence is occurring in our community, we will identify better ways to do it. As new technologies emerge, our laws and services need to cater to this and to these new ways that people are inflicting this on others.

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