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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1227 ..


I have a diverse range of portfolios, from overseeing protections for workers in every ACT workplace to responsibility for parts of the criminal justice system. There is one common theme across the senior leadership of these areas: an ongoing commitment to improve. Ensuring that there are effective, evidence-based measures in place to prevent and respond to sexual violence and assault is a priority. I will continue working in each of my portfolio areas to improve outcomes for victims while working hard to put in place what is needed to stop sexual assault occurring in the first place.

Madam Speaker, we want to improve workplace safety and industrial laws so that employers are held responsible for ensuring that workplaces are free from sexual assault of any kind. We will keep working with ACT Policing to ensure that their ongoing priority is the safety and wellbeing, both mentally and physically, of victims and survivors of sexual assault. We will keep working with the new corrections commissioner to improve our trauma response for detainees in the AMC, recognising that many detainees are victims of domestic and family violence or sexual assault and that often this trauma has contributed to their offending.

We will achieve progress in this area by working together as a government and, importantly, by listening to the sector and victims when they tell us what they need. I welcome the opportunity that this important work outlined by Minister Berry presents and I look forward to working with my ministerial colleagues to improve responses to and outcomes for victims of sexual assault.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.28): I would like to add a few comments from my particular perspective as the Attorney-General. This is a really important process. I am very pleased to see an opportunity where there is real engagement from experts, stakeholders, community service providers, government service providers, victim survivors and others to help the government focus where we need to focus and make sure that we are making the changes that people with all those experiences tell us need to be made.

During the election campaign, for us as the Greens it was very clear that these were important areas. We had a number of policies in this space. Each and every one of us has to do the most we can to protect people, particularly women, and validate and support victim survivors.

With my Attorney-General hat on, let me say that we have heard loud and clear that we cannot rely on legislation alone. Often that is seen as the thing that we must do, but that will not protect people entirely. For many victim survivors, the courts are not how they want to deal with what has happened to them. However, the legal work is still also an indispensable element of this work for those who do choose to seek justice through the courts. It is also necessary to underpin the vital education and cultural parts of this work.

Dr Paterson spoke this morning about issues of consent. That is an area of important legislative reform that is not just about legislation but also about defining new parameters, new expectations of behaviour in our community.


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