Page 2076 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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This broad coverage of the amendments mirrors the wide coverage of the Reportable Conduct and Information Sharing Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This bill, which was introduced in June this year, sets up a similarly broad oversight and monitoring regime for any occasion of reportable conduct including abuse, by any officer, employee or contractor of a designated entity which includes health service providers, childcare and education providers, and kinship and foster care organisations.

Together these amendments send a strong signal that institutions will not be able to hide or cover up allegations or instances of child sex abuse. The amendments to the limitations period in this bill therefore will encourage more survivors to seek redress and justice through civil proceedings. The amendments respond to the royal commission’s call to address this issue as a priority. The ACT will need to work with stakeholders and other jurisdictions as it considers other recommendations that flow from the royal commission’s very important work.

The bill also makes a minor correction to the Supreme Court Act 1933 to insert the word “on” to make it clear that the recent amendments to allow for retrial in exceptional circumstances apply where the acquittal occurs on the day the Supreme Court Amendment Act 2016 commenced, not just before or after that day.

Finally, the bill makes amendments to increase the Victims of Crime Act 1994 victim’s services levy to improve the capacity of the territory to support victims of crime under the recently introduced and improved victims of crime financial assistance scheme. The increase is from $40 to $50 when the bill commences, and then to $60 from 1 July 2017.

There are two safeguards to protect vulnerable individuals and groups against undue hardship potentially caused by increasing the victims services levy. The first exists at the court level. Under the Victims of Crime Act, the court may exonerate the person from liability to pay the levy if satisfied in the circumstances that paying the levy is likely to cause undue hardship.

The second safeguard is contained within the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005, which details the process by which the levy and other court fines can be collected. Any enforcement action can only be taken with a fine enforcement order which can only be made if the court is satisfied that the order would not be unfair or cause undue hardship on the defaulter or another person and that it is in the interests of justice to make the order. I commend this important bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Public Health Amendment Bill 2016

Ms Fitzharris, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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