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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2874 ..


Since these powers were introduced, the Human Rights Commission has, from 14 May 2020 to 30 September 2021, provided information and advice to people in response to over 61 inquiries about abuse or neglect of a vulnerable person and has taken on 31 complaints for investigation and conciliation. Many of these complaints are very complex matters and have required detailed investigation and ongoing assistance.

These complaints powers were initially introduced as a temporary measure to make sure they were in place during the COVID-19 emergency. Now that we have seen these powers in operation, it is clear that they serve an important purpose in keeping elderly and vulnerable Canberrans safe, and that they are needed on an ongoing basis.

Taking the bill more broadly, I am pleased to note that this bill may promote a number of rights under the Human Rights Act, including the right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; the right to freedom of expression; the right to liberty and security of person; and the right to protection of the family and children.

These rights may be promoted by the amendments to the Human Rights Commission Act that I have already spoken about. These rights may also be promoted by the amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 2012, by ensuring that meetings can continue flexibly beyond the pandemic, as well as by the Corrections Management Act 2007, by allowing the appropriate release of detainees to seek medical or palliative care. The promotion of these rights supports the human rights compatibility of the bill.

These amendments will help to protect the most vulnerable Canberrans. They mean that vulnerable people and their advocates have an independent body to turn to for help, support and assistance, which is vital to maintain a caring and inclusive Canberra community. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Jones) adjourned to a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—infrastructure

MS LEE: My question is to the Chief Minister in his capacity as Treasurer. Chief Minister, you have struggled to deliver infrastructure for years, announcing and re-announcing many projects, such as the hospital rebuild. You have fallen short of your own infrastructure spend in the 2019-20 budget by a staggering $250 million. Yesterday’s budget announcement was a four per cent increase in infrastructure spending over four years, claiming that this would turbocharge the economy. Chief Minister, what have you done as the minister responsible for major projects in Canberra to enhance your directorate’s project management capability to see this modest increase is actually delivered?


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