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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3300 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

For example, some agencies believe that they will require a higher level of staffing to meet these demands, which means a higher level of pay to start with. Will they be funded for it? Not at the moment. Ms Tucker will be taking steps to see that they are. We were told that there may be one or two cases a year. I heard the Chief Magistrate speaking on the radio this morning and I would be very surprised if it was maintained at that level. On its record, we cannot be convinced that the Government will be providing the resources.

I am on Ms Tucker's side; but, as I have informed her, not to the extent that I would delay the implementation of the Bill. We will allow the Bill to go through with all parts, but I will be joining Ms Tucker and others in seeing that the resources provided under the therapeutic orders section are forthcoming. Whether Ms Tucker puts some other clauses in there or takes it through in another way, I will be joining her in seeing that the resources are provided because they do need to be. The Labor Party had some hesitation about this matter. We are on her side; but, because of the program facing committees over the next few months, we simply were not prepared to delay, for what might be a considerable time, the full implementation of this Bill.

I had some amendments that I was going to move in respect of the Official Visitor, but I have withdrawn them because the amendments being brought forward by the Minister cover what I had in mind. The discussion papers earlier proposed to change the status of the Official Visitor in respect of the Community Advocate. I was concerned about that and others were, too, as they have indicated, but the Minister has indicated that he will go back to the former position so that there is not a veto, in a sense, by one over the other. The proposal in the Bill was not well received in some quarters and I value the amendments brought froward by the Minister which have resulted in mine being withdrawn.

The Bill is a fair effort in a difficult area. We will look at the question of resources because the fair effort in words has to be translated into practice on the ground. Let us see that that happens and let us see that additional resources, if necessary, are brought forward for that purpose.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister)(4.40): I welcome the reforms in a very critical area of law, affecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community - children and young people. Over the last two years - it might even be a bit longer than that - this Bill has been through exhaustive consultation carried out across a broad spectrum of the community, and I mean a broad spectrum. Since the community consultation papers were launched in 1997, we have had discussion, liaison and revision of the original proposals with government and non-government groups. In fact, we were so interested in ensuring that everybody had a say on this piece of legislation that about 12 months ago, maybe just under 12 months ago, we asked Ms Tucker whether her committee would like to look at it, and guess what?

Ms Tucker: At 200 pages of drafting instruction. The committee said no.

MS CARNELL: Obviously, Ms Tucker does not like hard work. If she did, she would have accepted that. Yes, it was a long Bill, but she said, "No, I am very happy with the process".

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