Page 2119 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 7 May 2015, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.25): I am pleased to speak on the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 2). The bill is for an act to amend the Children and Young People Act 2008 and for other purposes. I would like to say that I felt there was perhaps not enough time to consider the bill to the level it deserved. It was presented in May this year and brought on again today, and we only had a briefing on it last Friday. Nevertheless we have given it considerable attention.

This bill enables the territory to monitor the ongoing suitability of organisations providing services through the new out-of-home care strategy, a step up for our kids. It also gives a range of powers to the territory to intervene where there are instances of noncompliance with an organisation’s performance against the suitability criteria. The bill seeks to build on an existing requirement in the Children and Young People Act 2008 that certain people or organisations must be approved as suitable entities for certain purposes by the director-general before they can undertake those functions.

I was pleased to host a roundtable with some interested stakeholders in May to talk about this bill. It was great to see stakeholders willingly and actively engaging with the proposed legislation, providing their feedback, asking questions and outlining their concerns, very much from their experience on the ground working with vulnerable young people. This kind of interaction helps in developing legislation that meets its objectives. I was pleased to be able to help those interested and concerned stakeholders to have their say, and I would like to thank the representatives of community organisations who attended and provided their feedback.

As I mentioned, I did not have much time to consider and review the bill and the amendments. It would be good if there was perhaps a view to having greater collaboration to provide the best possible outcome for ACT residents. Having said that, once we identified questions and concerns about the bill, the minister’s office and the directorate were very receptive and worked extremely well with my office, and I would like to thank them for that. I would also like to thank the drafting office for the speed with which they prepared the amendments.

I note that the minister today is proposing new sections dealing with transitional arrangements which were not included in the original bill. I have not had the opportunity to be briefed on those proposed amendments concerning transitional arrangements because they were brought on quite recently. I do hope they prove to be suitable in operation. I would like to offer this quote about cooperation and consultation:

When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.

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