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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 June 2015) . . Page.. 2121 ..


Staff from my office have also raised this issue with Minister Gentleman’s office and directly with the Community Services Directorate to seek a better understanding. I am advised that there are good reasons for not supporting this amendment from Ms Lawder at this time. They relate to both the overarching responsibility of the director-general and to more specific issues of finite parental responsibility. In the first instance, the director-general, in fulfilling their functions under section 22 of the existing act, must exercise aspects of parental responsibility for children and young people and provide or assist in providing information, services or assistance to children and young people who have left the director-general’s care.

These two points out of a much more exhaustive list of functions will ensure that no child or young person will be left adrift in the case of any adverse notices provided to their provider. Also, it is my understanding that the amendment from Ms Lawder does not allow for the nuance of responding in kind to the level of parental authority that may exist. By this I mean that for some children and young people their engagement with an authorised organisation is not always in full-time care or residential care.

An example provided to me was of a child who is still under the full parental care of one of their birth parents or legal guardians but accesses the services of a transport or supervised visits agency to visit their other parent. In this example, it is not necessary or indeed appropriate for the director-general to make arrangements for each child or young person affected by a suspension or cancellation notice, although, of course, under the previous sections of the act that I mentioned the director-general may and will provide assistance where required or needed.

In the cases where a child does in fact reside with the organisation or affiliated foster carer, and in the instance where a suspension or cancellation notice is given, then of course the director-general, under the current sections that relate to parental responsibility, will act swiftly and surely to ensure they are kept safe and make whatever arrangements are required to minimise the impacts.

On that ground I will not support this amendment, but I have, through my office, sought a firm commitment from Minister Gentleman’s office and the directorate that this distinction will be spelt out clearly in the public regulations and various disallowable instruments that will flow from this and subsequent changes to the act. I am more than happy to revisit this issue again with Ms Lawder if the matters raised are not fully clarified by these subordinate legislative changes and policies.

With those few brief remarks, I indicate in summation that I will be supporting this bill today. I believe it will provide continuing improvement in a very important area of supervision of children and young people. I thank Minister Gentleman for the information that his office and the directorate staff have provided to me and my staff in the course of the preparations for this bill.

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) (5.34), in reply: I rise to commend the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 2) that will


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