Page 1598 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008
not go before a committee in any way—it has not even been contemplated—is a sorry state.
This is another example of the Stanhope government’s reluctance to contemplate open consultation. They want to have a consultation process that they have control over. In a sense, they will still have control over it because there are a majority of members on the education, children and young people’s committee who are members of the Labor Party. Mr Pratt, as a member of that committee, is not going to be able to ride roughshod over them. But he will have an opportunity, along with those members, to hear from the community and report back to the Assembly about what the community actually thinks and believes and whether their views have been taken into account.
This is an extraordinarily important piece of legislation, and it is an extraordinarily important process that we are missing out on in the current arrangements. I commend the motion to the Assembly and I look forward to a positive and swiftly delivered report on this matter.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (12.18): The government will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s motion that the Children and Young People Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People for investigation and report. Passage and implementation of this bill without further consultation and delay is critical. I can go to some of the issues around why. It is also important to know that consultation on this bill began in September 2002, and I will go through the consultation that has been undertaken.
In the first stage, forums were held with criminal justice, community and government stakeholders in 2002. In August 2003, written submissions were called for from the community, and 27 submissions were received from individuals, community organisations, government agencies, ministerial advisory councils and unions. Just for the benefit of those opposite if they did not hear that, 27 submissions were received when we called for submissions in August 2003. In May 2004, key stakeholder forums were convened by the departments to address specific issues in the areas of children services, young offenders and care and protection.
As part of stage 2 of the consultations, the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Service and the Department of Justice and Community Safety conducted further consultations from January to March 2006. During this time, the departments and the Youth Coalition of the ACT held targeted community consultations with young people and key community, government, legal and advocacy agencies. The Youth Coalition itself facilitated six focus groups with community agencies, young people detained in Quamby and young people who had resided in the out-of-home care sector. A further 10 written submissions were received during this phase of the consultation.
As part of stage 3 of the consultations, the departments worked on and developed an exposure draft of legislation, which was released by the Attorney-General and me for a third and final round of consultations in 2007. Information sessions on the bill were conducted for anyone interested. Anyone who responded to that exposure draft had