Page 3923 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015
Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No 3)
Debate resumed from 24 September 2015, on motion by Mr Gentleman:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Health, Ageing, Community and Social Services—Standing Committee
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.04): Under standing order 174 I move:
That the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2015 (No. 3) be referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Ageing, Community and Social Services for inquiry and report.
It is my understanding that the Community Services Directorate has consulted with a number of community organisations about this bill. However, notwithstanding that fact, some community organisations have continued to raise with me concerns about the final form of the bill. The ACT Legal Assistance Forum care and protection working group and several community organisations, specifically in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and disability sectors, have voiced their concerns with me that this bill does not give parents of children in care enough time to access services necessary to address the issues raised by care and protection services.
I quote some words from the October newsletter of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service:
Winnunga supports claims made in the submission by ATODA, DVCS and the MHCC—
that is, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Association of the ACT, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT—
that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families are disproportionately involved in the care and protection system …
The consequence is, in the words of the submission that the proposed amendments ‘will have a harsh and unacceptable impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, parents and families’.
Other concerns that have been raised with me relate to parents with disability and the lack of services available to them that are specifically targeted at people with disability.
For these reasons, we want to refer this bill to the Standing Committee on Health, Ageing, Community and Social Services. While the government did consult with community organisations, we are unsure, given the comments I have received, that the concerns of those organisations were fully considered or investigated. By referring