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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2235 ..

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (4.11): I thank everybody who has contributed to the debate on the Senior Practitioner Amendment Bill. The Senior Practitioner Act 2018 focuses on the protection of human rights through the regulatory oversight of the use of restrictive practices. The act is in its infancy, and it has required practices to be embedded and reporting infrastructure built around it to ensure proper implementation and data collection.

In my portfolios, I have seen the commitment of public schools to reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in the ACT. The Education Directorate continues to work alongside the Office of the Senior Practitioner on the application of the Senior Practitioner Act in educational settings.

This amendment extends the time frame for the review of the Senior Practitioner Act. This extension will allow for more data to be collected and enable the further time required to allow practice changes to be embedded. This amendment will also allow government to continue to consult with workers across all settings where the act applies, including unions like the CPSU, the UWU and the AEU. These workers are experts in what they do, and it is important that the government understands their perspectives on the implementation of the act and any potential changes.

Knowing more about how the act is working will lead to better policy development and a stronger approach to reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in the ACT. I thank Minister Davidson for her continued commitment to ensuring that the rights of people who are subject to restrictive practices are protected, and I look forward to the review of the act in 2023. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (4.13): In 2018, following extensive consultation, and with overwhelming support from community members, I introduced the Senior Practitioner Act with the paramount purpose of protecting people’s human rights. A restrictive practice is defined by the act as a practice that is used to restrict the rights or freedom of movement of a person for the primary purpose of protecting that person or others from harm.

As we know, restrictive practices are most likely to be used on the most vulnerable members of our community—children and young people, people with disability and older people. The reduction and elimination of restrictive practices is incredibly important, and the Senior Practitioner has played, and will continue to play, a significant role in regulatory oversight.

This amendment is minor but important. Extending the time frame to review the operation of the act will allow for a quality and thorough review to take place within the intent. Since the act’s introduction in 2018, we have seen a direct impact in the ACT community through better education and awareness of restrictive practices. ACT

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