Page 2069 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (12.09): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2005 amends the Children and Young People Act 1999, relating in the most part to the Quamby Youth Detention Centre. This bill addresses problems that date back to the beginning of self-government in the ACT. Specifically, the problems raised and addressed in today’s bill include the declaration of Quamby Youth Detention Centre as a shelter and institution under the act, the declaration of community youth justice offices, in their various locations, as attendance centres under the act, the declaration of Marlow Cottage as a shelter under the act, the validity of the standing orders used at Quamby, and the appointment of official visitors under the act.
Mr Speaker, let me address the first legal issue. Extensive searches have been undertaken by the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services and the Department of Justice and Community Safety for the documentation in relation to the declarations of Quamby, Marlow Cottage and the attendance centre in accordance with the act. Declarations for Marlow Cottage and the attendance centre could not be located. The most recent official declaration of Quamby as a facility able to receive children and young people under the relevant legislation was made on 22 April 1988. This was made by the then associate secretary, ACT administration, as delegate for the minister of state for the arts and territories. This 1988 declaration was made under section 157 of the then Children’s Services Act 1986, which was repealed by the Children and Young People Act 1999, which commenced on 10 May 2000. Further, the 1988 declaration related to the site on which Quamby operated prior to the facility’s upgrade and reopening, on a different part of the site, in March 1994. This new location has never officially been declared as a facility for the receipt of children and young people under relevant legislation.
I should note that there were no statements in reports by the ACT Ombudsman, the Community Advocate, the ACT coroner, in the Vardon and Murray reviews, or in the interim report on the review of systems and processes with compliance and statutory obligations undertaken by Minter Ellison Consulting, that would have drawn our attention to these issues. Following advice from the ACT Government Solicitor’s Office, on 19 May 2005, I declared—under the Children and Young People Act 1999, from that date—Quamby to be both a shelter and institution and the Community Youth Justice Offices, in Callum Offices, Woden, to be an attendance centre. On 17 June 2005, I declared—under the Children and Young People Act 1999, from that date—Marlow Cottage to be a shelter. This is a facility that is currently being used as a place to refer children and young people to from the Children’s Court.
As I have earlier indicated, the status of these facilities, prior to my recent declarations, is uncertain and so it is necessary to introduce amendments that would put their legality beyond any doubt. Given the circumstances, and in order to address these matters, I propose the following amendments to the Assembly: