Page 1302 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015
key and core requirement of the committee. I am hopeful that the committee membership, functions and findings will continue to be monitored and evaluated over time to ensure that we are getting the balance right.
The remainder of the amendments are minor in nature and reflect, I gather, the need to have some increased flexibility for the committee in their meetings, noting that the frequency of meetings may be irregular and the current relevant sections may be creating unnecessary administrative burdens for its functions. Further, the amendments reflect that the professionals required to form the committee may have competing demands, and these amendments will provide for a more flexible, yet still robust, set of procedures.
In closing, while the ACT Greens will continue to monitor the committee and its important functions, I will be supporting the bill before us today.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.43), in reply: The ACT Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 makes amendments to chapter 19A of the Children and Young People Act 2008 and has been designed to improve the administrative efficiency of the Children and Young People Death Review Committee. I tabled the bill in the Assembly on 26 March this year.
I take this opportunity to remind the Assembly of the important functions of this committee, those being establishing a register of deaths of children and young people, identifying patterns and trends in relation to the deaths of children and young people, and determining research that would be valuable in preventing further child deaths.
This research has allowed the committee to identify that since July 2004 more than 14 children have died in the ACT due to unsafe sleeping situations. In response to this, the committee has worked very hard towards raising awareness of the issue of unsafe sleeping and also in the education of parents and caregivers in this important area. The committee work in this area has included releasing a fact sheet, several media releases and a submission to the Australian College of Midwives. The committee has also been able to use what it has learnt to contribute to recent research on self-harm and suicidal behaviour in children and young people—research carried out by the National Children’s Commissioner and ACT Health’s Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Addictive Medicine.
Each year, the annual report of the ACT Children and Young People Death Review Committee provides the community with information on the deaths of children and young people that occur in the ACT, as well as the deaths of ACT children and young people that occur outside the ACT. The committee will release its fourth annual report later this year.
The amendments to legislation proposed in this bill relate to administrative matters and will have little direct impact on the central work of the committee. However, this bill will enable a more efficient operation of the Children and Young People Death Review Committee by reducing the time and resources spent on administrative