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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 444 ..

The Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 came into effect in November 2012. At that time Minister Burch was the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. The revised explanatory statement for the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2010 states that once enacted the bill would become “the primary law in the ACT which provides for background checking as part of a risk assessment of people working with, or wanting to work with, children or vulnerable adults in the ACT”. The revised explanatory statement goes on to say, firstly:

The exclusion of people with a known history of certain behaviour is a fundamental part of creating safe environments for vulnerable people.


The aim of the Bill is to reduce the incidence of sexual, physical, emotional or financial harm or neglect of vulnerable people in the ACT.


The Bill introduces a requirement for people who have contact with vulnerable people in the course of engaging in certain regulated activities or services to be registered with a statutory screening unit to be established in the Office of Regulatory Services, Department of Justice and Community Safety.


The Commissioner for Fair Trading (the commissioner) will be the commissioner responsible for administering the Act. The commissioner will conduct a background check and risk assessment before registering suitable applicants for a maximum period of three years.


People who are not registered or who are deemed to present an unacceptable risk of harm will be prohibited from working with vulnerable people in the ACT.

The revised explanatory statement underlines the rationale for introducing the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011:

In line with obligations under the National Framework for Creating Child Safe Environments — Organisations, Employees and Volunteers, checking systems for people working with children have been established or are being developed in all Australian jurisdictions.

The protection of the rights of children and vulnerable adults in the ACT is a legitimate objective and pressing social need. The ACT Government considers that the creation of a checking system for people who work with, or want to work with, vulnerable people, with appropriate safeguards, is a proportionate response under Section 28 of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).

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