Page 1601 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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Currently, there is the ability for certain decisions to be reviewed through ACAT, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. These decisions relate to the approval of organisations and individuals as suitable entities, or not, and the approval of persons of carers, or not, but they do not relate to the decisions about the care of an individual child or young person.

Finally, for parents, foster carers, kinship carers and, vitally, the children and young people themselves, there must be recourse to review or appeal decisions made by the territory on their behalf. As we all know, in all these processes, the best interests of the child must be the paramount concern. The voice of the child in any questioning of these decisions must be heard, and the external review system needs to be open and to allow for positive engagement and genuine feedback.

This is why it is so important that external reviews of decisions can be undertaken, and this is why I am supporting this motion and moving my amendment.

Mrs Dunne: Could I seek some clarification. We have two amendments on the floor at the moment. Can we do that?

MS LE COUTEUR: My amendments seek to amend Ms Stephen-Smith’s amendment. They are amendments to the amendment. I move:

(1) Insert new paragraph (1)(f):

“(f) that the ACT Government, in response to the Glanfield inquiry, agreed to a review of the resources of the Public Advocate and Children and Young People’s Commissioner to perform oversight functions and a review of the Community Services Directorate’s resources to respond to oversight bodies after the Human Rights Commission has been operating for a year;”.

(2) Insert after paragraph (2)(b):

“recognise the importance of adequately resourced internal and external review functions of the Public Advocate and Children and Young People’s Commissioner and the Community Services Directorate;”.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.05): I want to thank Mrs Kikkert for bringing this important matter before us today. I am speaking from sad experience of the issues, as I have, like Mrs Kikkert, held the responsibility of being the shadow minister for community services. I would like to reflect on some of those experiences and on why this motion today is so important.

In doing so, I do not want to be overly critical of the minister, but I have heard the speech that she gave today once too often. I hear Ms Stephen-Smith talking about how everything that is done in the care and protection system is done in the best interests of the child and that substantial progress is being made towards doing a range of things. I am sorry, but I have been here for a very long time and through the period from 2008 to 2012 I heard that speech a number of times. I also know that through

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