Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 11 May 2017) . . Page.. 1758 ..
Mrs Dunne: Didn’t you do that before? You spent a whole four years bringing up the legislation.
MR RATTENBURY: Mrs Dunne is interjecting across the chamber and I should not respond but I will. It did take four years to get that legislation done, and that was deeply frustrating to me, but we got it done. That is the persistence we demonstrated to get improved FOI legislation. I will note that on more than one occasion last term we wrote to the Liberal Party seeking to engage them on the issue and got deafening silence—deafening silence. They did not support it until we finally brought it on for a vote in the chamber.
I welcome Mrs Dunne’s engagement on the issue because she actually knows something about it and took it seriously, and I welcome the support we got last year. But to come in here and pillory us for saying, “Look, it needs six more months to put it in place effectively,” is frankly pathetic. We will see very effective legislation, much improved legislation, come into effect later this year. It is not my preferred outcome that it will take an extra six months after all this time. I would prefer it to be starting on 1 July; I am perfectly happy to admit that. But the reality is that it needs a little bit more time.
I was amused by Mr Hanson’s reference to the fact that he liked me in 2016, because it never felt like it. There is nothing like a bit of revisionist history, but I clearly got it wrong in 2016.
That said, the remainder of the changes in the bill are relatively minor and technical and the Greens are pleased to support this legislation this evening.
MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (6.43), in reply: I am pleased to speak briefly in support of the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. This bill makes amendments to a broad range of justice and community safety legislation to improve the efficiency, the effectiveness and the fairness of laws in the ACT.
The government has listened to ideas and feedback from service providers, legal professionals and the broader community and has incorporated them into this bill. For example, the amendments to the Limitation Act build on the amendments that were introduced last year to show that the government is taking child sex abuse very seriously. Aligning with recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, last year’s amendments removed limitation periods for personal injury claims resulting from child sex abuse that occurred in an institutional context. This bill recognises that it can take survivors of child sexual abuse decades to disclose that abuse. Limitation periods on access to legal rights can impose a significant barrier to justice.
This government is committed to joining other states in improving access to justice by removing limitation periods for child sex abuse no matter what the context. It is already the case that if a person seeks compensation for injuries as a result of abuse