Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3581 ..
The government will also make an actuarial and economic assessment of the recommendations of the Projects Assisting Victims’ Experience and Recovery (PAVER) Review, and scope an ICT solution to provide information and services available to victims under the charter of rights for victims of crime, which members all know was released at the beginning of this year. These initiatives build on the government’s past investments in the Victim Service Scheme and the victims of crime financial assistance scheme, and recognise the importance of victims being able to access timely financial assistance and tailored therapeutic support.
We are also committing over $1 million over four years to increase staff at the Human Rights Commission. Canberrans have been able to turn to the commission for support when they have experienced a range of issues, including racism and other forms of discrimination. As we have expanded the commission’s jurisdictions—to enable people to bring complaints about sexuality and gender identity conversion practices; elder abuse and neglect; or the exploitation of people with a disability—the range and number of complaints have grown. This investment includes boosting the senior capacity in the team to undertake conciliation processes, systemic investigations, training and education. With this investment, Canberrans will continue to have access to a timely, effective and supportive complaints process when they need it.
This budget is also providing $576,000 over four years to increase the level of base funding and meet the growth in demand for the Official Visitor Scheme. Members might be aware that the scheme is the most comprehensive of its kind in Australia and covers the corrections, mental health, disability, homelessness and children and young people disciplines. The scheme provides a necessary safeguard for entitled persons who are amongst the most vulnerable in the ACT. Official visitors are appointed to visit entitled persons at visitable places and resolve grievances or complaints. This initiative provides additional funding to address an increased demand for the services of official visitors. That increased demand is, in turn, associated with increases in the number of visitable places and the requirements of entitled persons and stakeholders.
Finally, $311,000 will fund a temporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families advocate, with a support staff member. Establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner was a key recommendation of the Our Booris, Our Way review. The recommendation was for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner to undertake individual and systemic advocacy and monitoring in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system as well as other areas where Indigenous children and their families are disproportionately represented. This is a government commitment. The co-design process, I am proud to say, is well underway for the commissioner position; members may wish to engage with that process with the Jumbunna institute online. While that work is underway, the community has asked for an interim role. I am pleased to say that we are delivering. While the advocate will not have the full powers of the permanent commissioner, I am very pleased that this advocate position will be filled early next year to provide that immediate advocacy for the community.
Human rights are universal, and they are enjoyed by everyone in the ACT regardless of gender, religious belief, nationality, race or any other point of difference. These