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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3707 ..


MR STEEL: I am happy to take that question. As the Attorney-General has noted, this will be a first step forward. We will make that available through the government to be able to consider those findings, recommendations and steps that need to be taken further, legally or otherwise, to make sure that any issues are addressed in the review.

At this point in time, it has not been determined that there has been a breach of privacy or health records legislation. We will look at the findings of the review to determine if there has been any breach and the steps that we need to take to remedy that breach and make sure that any issues do not occur in the future, if that may be the case.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders—children and families advocate

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Human Rights. The 2021-22 budget commits $311,000 to appoint a temporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families advocate. Can you update the Assembly on the work underway to appoint the advocate?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Ms Orr for the question. The ACT government is fully implementing the recommendations of the Our Booris, Our Way review, including the recommendation to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner. We have heard clearly that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community wants the commissioner established as soon as possible and, as minister responsible for this forum, I do too.

The commissioner’s policy and legislative framework is currently being developed through a genuine co-design process so that the commissioner has the confidence of the community. That process is well underway. In the meantime, the community has asked for an interim role to be appointed. We have listened, and the 2021-22 budget commits $311,000 for a temporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families advocate and a support staff member.

While the advocate will not have the full powers of the permanent commissioner, it is important that this role meets the needs, expectations and requirements of the community. We are currently working with community leaders, including the Our Booris, Our Way implementation oversight committee and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body to finalise the position description for the advocate. The role will be advertised in the coming weeks and I expect it will be filled early next year.

MS ORR: Minister, how is the co-design process for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioner progressing?

MS CHEYNE: As I mentioned, the commissioner role will be co-designed with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Canberra. While we have had to pivot and rethink how to run this process in a Covid-safe way, the co-design has been ramping up over the past few weeks. A discussion paper has recently been released by the facilitators, the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney.


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