Page 978 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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any other aspect of a person’s risk assessment process. Western Australia’s working with children checks authority uses a similar non-statutory model where expert advice can be sought in complex situations.

This amendment responds to a recommendation made by the community sector peak body, ACTCOSS, the Mental Health Coalition of the ACT and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association. In a letter to the opposition and crossbench, ACTCOSS stated that the government’s amendment “is a significant and positive step and helps balance the legislation between the needs of workers and the rights of vulnerable people accessing services”.

The only other amendments are those requested by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in scrutiny report No 27. I have circulated the amendments and I now table the revised explanatory statement for members. I understand that also has been passed around the chamber.

This government has listened to the ACT community’s call for the protection of children and vulnerable people. It has broad support and we have consulted widely and extensively. There are no regulations to consider at this time, and the government will develop resources that promote education and awareness about the background checking system.

The government has been committed to working with the community sector on the workplace screening guidelines and I think, for all those involved in that, this has been an open conversation and dialogue with the community sector. I will ensure that it continues through the crucial transition phase. I note Ms Hunter’s comment that it is important that we work with the community sector in that transition, with an eye to reviewing implementation processes over time. To quote the ACTCOSS CEO:

As the consultation on the scheme has been productive to date, we believe ongoing dialogue on the guidelines associated with the scheme will address many of the remaining concerns.

As has been noted by earlier speakers, there is an understanding that the Greens and opposition wish to go only to the in-principle stage. I want to thank members for their contributions to date and I look forward to seeing this nation-leading bill passed before we go to the winter recess.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate (on motion by Ms Bresnan) adjourned to the next sitting.

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