Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1914 ..
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, on 8 May 2003 Mr Bill Wood MLA tabled submissions from government agencies to the inquiry into the operational response to the January bushfires. Amongst these submissions was the Australian Federal Police submission. Due to an administrative oversight, an attachment to the Australian Federal Police submission was not included in the tabled documents. I table, Mr Speaker, the attachment The Recovery Process for Canberra's Bushfire Emergency, 18-28 January 2003.
Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 1983-review of operation
Government response and statement by minister
MR STANHOPE(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (3.32): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:
Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act-A review of the operation of the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 1983 and the victims services scheme (presented 7 March 2002)-Government response to the Report by Dr Anthony Dare, dated June 2003.
I seek leave to make a statement.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to table the government's response to the report prepared by Dr Anthony Dare, Assistance for Victims of Crime in the ACT -a review of the operation of the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 1983 and the victims services scheme. Dr Dare's report was tabled in the Assembly on 7 March 2002. In line with the government's commitment towards consultation, the views of users, stakeholders and individuals on the Dare report have been sought and considered. I take this opportunity to thank all contributors for taking the time to put their views on matters raised in the report.
As members will recall, while Dr Dare found the financial assistance scheme to be operating efficiently overall and at an affordable level, there were some significant concerns raised. Provisions of the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act retaining awards for pain and suffering for police officers, ambulance officers and firefighters were widely criticised as being unfair and inequitable. Similar provisions retaining pain and suffering awards for victims of sexual offences attracted comment that the categories of crime should be broadened to include victims of domestic violence.
The requirement of having to report the relevant crime to the police before being eligible to claim financial assistance was identified as needing to be reviewed, and the legal fee cap of $650 was found to be inadequate. The government has addressed these issues in its response.