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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3852 ..


refurbished property and the service have been co-designed with young people with a lived experience of family conflict and homelessness, and the services that know them best.

MS ORR: Minister, how will the funding to modernise the Children and Young People Act support the ACT government’s reform agenda?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The ACT government has an ambitious social policy reform agenda, which I know Ms Orr is very interested in. This includes a strong focus on ensuring that we create the conditions in which children, young people and families can thrive.

The 2021-22 budget includes almost $2 million over three years to modernise the Children and Young People Act 2008. The CYP Act has been amended frequently since it was first introduced in 2008. This has led to a necessarily complex act being even less accessible for those who interact with it. The full revision of the act will improve its function, while enabling and supporting a number of key government commitments, including embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principle, improving the extended care system for 18- to 21-year-olds, establishing a charter of rights for parents and families and embedding this in legislation, creating a legislated external decision review mechanism for decisions made by Child and Youth Protection Services, and implementing system reform to support raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Modernising the Children and Young People Act will enable reforms under development to be incorporated into the CYP Act holistically, while making the act as a whole more transparent and easier for both frontline workers and the public to understand.

Importantly, the redesign of the CYP Act will focus on embedding trust and accountability in the child protection and youth justice systems. Evidence is constantly evolving about the best ways to support children, young people and families at risk. This means both policy and practice must evolve. This significant investment will support innovative best-practice child protection work and out of home care delivery.

Modernising the Children and Young People Act will enable legislation to reflect the way our modern child protection and youth justice systems work, and support our significant reform agenda.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how will this work enable the government to embed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principle?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary. The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is a black mark on Australian history, and it is incumbent upon all child protection systems to ensure that we do not repeat the past practices which have caused such deep harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


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