Page 477 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Proposed new clauses 12A and 12C to 12E agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Children and Young People (Transition to Independence) Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 16 February, on motion by Ms Hunter:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (11.08), in reply: Obviously now that we have passed the Children and Young People (Transition from Out-of-Home Care) Amendment Bill there is no longer any need to continue with this debate. But I would like to speak briefly about my bill—the Children and Young People (Transition to Independence) Amendment Bill. I would like to thank all of the people who have been involved in the process along the way. It was quite some time ago, late in 2010 or so, that I was able to do some consultation with a wide range of people—young people in out-of-home care, those who had previously been in out-of-home care, carers, care providers, foster carers, kinship carers—to discuss this issue of independence.

That was put into a discussion paper that received responses from right across the community, and that then informed the Greens’ way forward, which was to draft the bill. This was a bill that, of course, I tabled in August of last year.

I am pleased to see that the government has picked up almost all of that bill. What we debated with the amendments to the government bill this morning was where there were some differences, and I am pleased to have had support, particularly from Mrs Dunne, to ensure that for things like possessions there will be a clear list and it will be clearly kept and that we will not have interest on any financial assistance given, for instance.

The one area which, of course, I am disappointed about is the charter of rights for children and young people in out-of-home care. We have gone over that debate earlier. But, apart from that, I think it is a great moment in the Assembly that we have got this legislation through. We have changed what we are doing with young people in that transitioning stage. We were the only jurisdiction to stop that support at the age of 18 in legislation. All other jurisdictions were at 21 and up to 25 years. It is a great day where we have made significant reform to ensure that those young people are going to be, as much as possible, on equal footing with their peers who have not been in out-of-home care.

Many of us here are parents. We know that once a young person turns 18 that does not mean that our parenting role and responsibilities and care end—it goes on for many years after that. It is good to see that we are now acknowledging that with the children

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