Page 4864 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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checking of employers, employees and volunteers; that there will be staged implementation of the background checking system; the cost of the employee checking system; that amendments to the bill would provide advisers being appointed that could provide the commissioner with advice on the potential risk posed by a particular applicant and any other aspects of registration; and that the bill will commence 12 months after it is passed by the Assembly.

We have been on an extensive consultative process since that time. Comments were sought from over 1,300 stakeholders and members of the community. Vulnerable people, government and non-government service providers, private counsellors and psychologists and representatives from the drug and alcohol sector, the mental health sector and the homelessness sector commented on these documents. I would like to thank the organisations, agencies and individuals who have provided comment. They have been invaluable in improving the whole framework that we are debating here today.

The government has considered these comments received during the consultative process, including the scrutiny of bills committee’s comments in reports 27 and 33 and the issues raised by my colleagues across the chamber. The bill’s risk assessment guidelines and application form, risk management assessment tool, government amendments and regulations have been amended where appropriate. The community can be confident that the bill and its supporting documents do not unnecessarily limit an applicant’s human rights.

I would like to thank the standing committee for report 43 on the Working With Vulnerable People (Consequential Amendments) Bill. In March the government amendments to the bill were circulated to the scrutiny of bills committee and these government amendments proposed to permit a person to voluntarily surrender their registration; to provide an applicant with the capacity to seek a review of a risk assessment decision based on new or corrected information; to clarify that all employers supporting students on school initiated work placements or practical training will require registration; change the phrase “position based” registration to “role based” registration; and to remove the imprisonment penalty from strict liability offences.

Circulation of these amendments and additional government amendments to the bill were identified. In total 78 government amendments are proposed to the bill, 48 of which have been previously presented to Assembly members and considered by the scrutiny committee. I am presenting the Assembly with all proposed government amendments for debate today. The amendments add to the policy position of the bill and refine detailed aspects of the bill.

Of the 78 proposed amendments to the bill only one amendment significantly changes the working with vulnerable people policy. Previously, new employees and volunteers were to be checked during the first three years of the background checking system’s operation and existing employees were to be checked from years four to six of the checking system’s operation. The community have told the government that they would prefer that children up to the age of 18 years be afforded the protection of the checking scheme through the first year of operation. In response, the government

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