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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1865 ..

Protection of Rights Services Review

Final report—government response

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (2.59): Pursuant to standing order 211, I move:

That the Assembly take note of the following paper:

Human Rights Act—Pursuant to subsection 43(1)—Protection of Rights Services Review—Final Report—Government response.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (2.59): I am pleased to speak to the final report of the Protection of Rights Services Review, conducted by Insight Consulting Australia, and the government’s response to the review. The review indicates that our protection of rights agencies—being the Human Rights Commission and the Public Trustee and Guardian—continue to provide a high quality service to the ACT community. The review highlights the commitment and professionalism of the Human Rights Commission president and commissioners and the Public Trustee and Guardian and their staff.

Back in 2016 the legislation that underpins the Human Rights Commission and the Public Trustee and Guardian was amended. These amendments brought in a range of reforms to the structure, leadership and operation of the commission and the Public Trustee and Guardian. The reforms were intended to strengthen the leadership, governance and coordination of key rights protection services in the ACT. They were designed to improve accountability of these agencies while ensuring that service accessibility was maintained.

It was also anticipated that the reforms to the Public Trustee and Guardian would result in a more joined-up service for clients and bring a wider range of experienced staff together to act for Canberrans with impaired decision-making. The review considered and consulted with stakeholders and the broader community on the extent to which the 2016 protection of rights services reforms achieved their intended aims.

I am pleased to report that the review found that to a great extent these goals have been achieved. This is attributable in part to the architecture of the 2016 reforms and in part to the professionalism and capabilities of the office holders and their teams who make it work. The Human Rights Commissioners, the Public Trustee and Guardian and the staff who support them are a credit to their organisations.

The final report outlines 31 recommendations, and the government either agrees or agrees in principle to all 31. The recommendations are primarily directed at the commission and the Public Trustee and Guardian. Several recommend the commission continue with what it is doing because it is working. A significant

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