Page 2509 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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Three other changes are worth noting in the bill. The Public Advocate’s functions relating to children and young people and people with a disability have been clarified by including definitions of “child” and “young person” and using the term “people with a disability” to refer to people who are forensic patients or who have a physical, mental, psychological or intellectual condition that makes them vulnerable to abuse, exploitation or neglect.

The definition of “forensic patient” has been altered to include a reference to mental illness as well as mental dysfunction, in order to bring it in line with the definitions used in the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994. This makes it clear that all forensic patients are entitled to help from the Public Advocate without there having to be a determination about whether their behaviour is caused by mental illness or mental dysfunction.

A provision has been included to allow the Public Advocate to delegate guardianship and management functions to senior officers within the office. This allows emergency decisions about people for whom the Public Advocate is the guardian or manager to be made, even when the Public Advocate is on leave, ill or for some reason cannot be contacted immediately. Previously this was achieved through a special acting appointment made by the executive, but the new provision will make the process less cumbersome. I have made clear in the past how much I and the government value the work done by the Office of the Community Advocate. That excellent work will continue under the new name of Office of the Public Advocate. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Domestic Animals (Cat Containment) Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Hargreaves, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.58): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Domestic Animals Act 2000 came into effect on 20 December 2000 and the Domestic Animals Regulation 2001 commenced on 12 June 2001. This bill amends both the act and the regulation, introducing new provisions for domestic cat management in the territory.

The need to amend the act arose from the Assembly’s decision of March 2004 to ensure that domestic cats would be permanently confined to premises at all times, either indoors or outdoors in cat enclosures, in the new suburbs of Forde and Bonner in Gungahlin. The purpose of this initiative is to protect the diversity of native wildlife in the nearby

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