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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2018 ..

Senior Practitioner Amendment Bill 2021

Ms Davidson, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (11.27): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Senior Practitioner Amendment Bill 2021. The bill amends the date for review of the Senior Practitioner Act 2018 from the end of its third year of operation to the end of its fifth year of operation. This means a review will be conducted and a report will be tabled in the Legislative Assembly in 2023. Although the bill is largely administrative, the amendment is important because it supports a robust and thorough review of this most important act.

The Senior Practitioner Act 2018 created the role of the Senior Practitioner as well as providing a formal framework for the overall reduction of restrictive practices in the ACT and for working to achieve the elimination of their use in individual circumstances where possible. The act defines a restrictive practice as one which is used to restrict the rights or freedom of movement of a person for the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm. It includes the use of a chemical substance to restrict a person’s movement and the seclusion or confinement of a person.

We know restrictive practices are most likely to be used on some of the most vulnerable people in our community—people with disability, older people, and children and young people. The ACT government is committed to the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices in the ACT.

Since 2018 the Senior Practitioner has worked closely with the ACT community to provide education on and improve awareness of the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices. During this time data collection and reporting has been introduced to gain insight into the use of restrictive practices over time. The first year of comprehensive, although manual, reporting was in 2019-20. Further reporting will provide trend data for the review.

The ACT is unique in being the only jurisdiction in Australia to have combined under the same legislation child protection, disability—recently including aged-care settings under the NDIS—early childhood and education. In addition many of the providers operating within the sectors covered by the act are new to a regulatory approach to the reduction, elimination and authorisation of the use of restrictive practices. This context creates a complexity in gauging the effectiveness of the act’s implementation and the efficacy of the provisions in reducing and eliminating restrictive practices.

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