Page 2120 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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The interesting thing about that quote is that it is from someone who I have never quoted before and possibly may never quote again—previous US President Bill Clinton.

We have a number of amendments to the bill, some of which were identified through the scrutiny report, and I will speak more about the amendments in the detail stage. We will support this bill today, as amended. I thank Mr Gentleman and his staff once again for their cooperation and reiterate that we all wish to enhance protection for vulnerable children and young people in our community. We will be pleased to support the bill, as amended, today.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.29): Today’s amendment bill represents stage 2 of an ongoing process to effectively change the care and protection landscape in new and challenging ways. A step up for our kids is a bold and exciting new way of doing things that is intended to offer a better response for those children and young people who are already in care and is an improved and timely response for those who may require increased support to stay with their natural guardians.

I will not speak to each and every amendment presented in the debate, other than one specific point. However, I would like to indicate my support for Minister Gentleman’s amendments to his bill. I will likewise follow the government’s lead on the support or non-support for Ms Lawder’s amendments. I would also like to thank Ms Lawder’s office for approaching my office on their proposed amendments, which, on the whole, are sensible and well thought out. I understand that many of them will be supported by Minister Gentleman.

I would like to acknowledge that I appreciate this way of doing things. I think there has been a good discussion around this bill. The fact that all of the offices have worked together over recent days to identify areas that could be improved in the bill and to make sure that we have the best possible bill is a very positive way to proceed with this legislation.

The amendments before us that I will support, of both Ms Lawder and Mr Gentleman, are improvements to the bill. They will provide greater clarity for government and community sector partners alike by defining methods of communication, tightening periods allowed for submissions and creating parameters for complaints to be addressed and resolved. The amendments provide better explanations of transitional arrangements and respond to some comments from scrutiny that can only improve the overall bill.

I would like to speak briefly and directly to clauses 8 and 9, and the amendments that are proposed in that area. They relate to proposed new sections 352P and 352S. I understand that staff from my office discussed the issues of seeking to require the director-general to make arrangements for any child affected by an organisation’s receipt of a safety suspension notice or cancellation notice. On the face of it, it seems very sensible and I can well understand why there may be a call for clarity around the director-general’s ongoing responsibility.

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