Page 1303 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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functions. These amendments will also increase flexibility in making committee appointments and holding meetings, allowing the committee to focus on its most important goal—working towards preventing future child deaths in the ACT.

There are four amendments included in this bill. The first allows for increased flexibility for the minister when appointing new members. This amendment arose from concerns that the qualifications, experience and expertise prescribed for committee appointments may unnecessarily limit the pool from which to draw future members when a vacancy occurs. It is fundamental to the committee’s strength and depth that its members represent a range of backgrounds and disciplines and include people who hold significant positions within the community and relevant organisations. The bill will increase the government’s capacity to locate and appoint members who are able to contribute significantly to the committee’s work.

Secondly, the bill will allow the committee to meet in the absence of the chair by allowing for the appointment of a deputy chair. Thirdly, it will allow for business to be carried out with a quorum of at least half the members present rather than the current two-thirds. These amendments will limit the number of meetings that need to be cancelled at short notice.

The final amendment is purely administrative and removes the requirement to provide at least 14 days written notice of meetings. This requirement has been found to be unnecessarily prescriptive in that it reduces flexibility if a meeting needs to be rescheduled at short notice.

The committee is given a calendar of meeting dates at the beginning of each year and electronic calendar invites are sent and responded to at that time. Members are also reminded of the next meeting date at the conclusion of each meeting. The dates are then included in the minutes and in the agenda for the next meeting when circulated. Further written notification has proven to be an unnecessary additional obligation.

I can also inform the Assembly that these amendments have been proposed by members of the Children and Young People Death Review Committee to improve the functionality of the committee.

We have an obligation to support the ACT Children and Young People Death Review Committee in carrying out its principal functions. The ACT community has an expectation that the committee will deliver key information around the deaths of children in the ACT and will seek to learn from these deaths to help stop similar deaths happening in the future.

Already, in the comparatively short life of the committee, it has used its learnings to contribute to educating the ACT community about safe sleeping practices for babies and children and has been able to make submissions and provide data to important ACT and national research projects.

Reducing the administrative burden on the committee and increasing flexibility around appointments and meetings will help the committee to focus its efforts on continuing its most important work.

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