Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 August 2016) . . Page.. 2081 ..
We support greater information sharing to protect children and young people. This is an issue that had been raised with me previously with respect to the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act. The amendments to that act will require designated entities to comply with the requests from the Commissioner for Fair Trading for information or advice that will help to conduct a new or ongoing risk assessment under the working with vulnerable people card scheme.
In November last year I had a roundtable with a number of organisations regarding the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act. The feedback I received then included that better information sharing is needed between Access Canberra—the ACT government agency responsible for processing working with vulnerable people cards—and employers, sponsors, applicants and card holders.
One of the examples raised with me at that time was that some people may volunteer for more than one organisation. They may have their card revoked, if you like, with one organisation but there is not always suitable or appropriate information sharing with another organisation that the person might volunteer with. There are some administrative hurdles, and organisations who work with volunteers expressed their concerns about those.
In its scrutiny report No 46, the scrutiny committee also raised several issues in relation to privacy and recommended that the minister respond to those. Again, I look forward to that. We support better information sharing to protect children and young people. We cannot afford to use privacy as a shield or a reason for not disclosing relevant personal information that would protect children and young people. Providing people working in the field with greater clarity and guidelines and legislation that enables them to do that can only be a step in the right direction. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill today.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (11.46): As the Minister for Education, I have the responsibility for three pieces of legislation and law that are integral to the development and wellbeing of children: the Education Act 2004, the ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010 and the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010.
The Education Act 2004 provides the legal framework for the establishment and operation of government schools and non-government schools. There are 44,831 students enrolled in government schools and 28,680 students enrolled in non-government schools.
The ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010 requires all teachers who work in ACT schools to be approved by the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, in addition to requiring a current working with vulnerable people clearance. The institute ensures that registered teachers are actively engaged in ongoing professional learning and maintain high-level professional standards.