Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3040 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
The Victims of Crime Coordinator is participating in the steering committee which is examining the best ways of ensuring the development of effective links between the new service agency and existing criminal justice system agencies such as the police, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the courts. The Bill provides that regulations can be made to confer functions in relation to the new scheme on the coordinator, so long as those functions are consistent with the coordinator's other functions under the legislation. The new scheme will be subject to the same annual reporting requirements as apply generally to government agencies under the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 1995.
Victims can be assured that their privacy will be respected when using the new scheme. The Bill makes it clear that the new victims services scheme is to be regarded as a health service provider for the purposes of the Health Reports (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 and that health records relating to victims using the scheme are to be protected under that legislation. Victims who use the new scheme will therefore be assured of the same level of privacy and access in relation to their health records as victims who seek help privately.
The scheme will be funded from the savings generated by the reforms in the Bill to victims' financial assistance entitlements and is expected to assist several thousand victims each year. The Territory does not have the financial resources to continue funding victims' assistance measures at the current level of around $5m each year. The Government will keep the operation of its reforms under review. If it appears that the financial assistance reforms, particularly the special assistance provisions, are not being applied as intended then further refinements to the scheme can be considered. I commend the Bill to the house.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.56): I present the Custodial Escorts Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Officers of the Australian Federal Police (ACT Region), in addition to taking into custody people they have arrested or detaining people in relation to the detection and prevention of crime, have traditionally secured the movement of detainees and prisoners within the Territory court precincts and when they are being conveyed from place to place within the Territory and to and from the ACT. It is government policy that court security and escort services be transferred from police officers to custodial officers in order to free up police resources for the core work of the AFP, the prevention and detection of crime.