Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 2017) . . Page.. 3328 ..
the commonwealth has agreed to coordinate and accompany visits. Despite this, where the subcommittee elects to visit an ACT place of detention, there may be some small costs in arranging access to facilities and relevant information. Responding to the subcommittee’s recommendations may also involve some work by ACT public service officials. However I am confident that these costs will not be a significant impost on government.
As for timing, the subcommittee’s usual practice is to visit a country every five to 10 years for a period of approximately two weeks. Given the international significance of Australia’s ratifying OPCAT, I think it would be reasonable to expect a subcommittee visit fairly soon after ratification, likely within the first 12 months.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate this government’s support for ratification of this important treaty. The ACT’s support for OPCAT ratification speaks to our proud history of legislating to protect the human rights of ACT citizens, including our most vulnerable. Ratification of OPCAT does not just reflect a further commitment to the prevention of all forms of torture and other forms of mistreatment, it allows scope for international perspectives to inform the continuous improvement of oversight of ACT places of detention.
I look forward to working with the commonwealth government further in the coming months on other aspects of OPCAT, particularly the national preventative mechanism, or NPM, which is not dealt with by this legislation. The NPM will be a domestic network of Australian oversight bodies responsible for inspecting places of detention regularly and engaging with places of detention to improve treatment and conditions. The commonwealth has announced that it will fund the Commonwealth Ombudsman to fulfil a coordination role for the NPM. I expect that each state and territory will be responsible for deciding on an NPM, or NPMs, in their own jurisdiction.
By introducing this bill now the ACT will be ready to accommodate the subcommittee’s visit that chooses to inspect any of the territory’s places of detention once OPCAT is ratified. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mrs Jones) adjourned to the next sitting.
Assembly business—notice No 1
Lapse of notice
Upon notice No 1, Assembly business, being called on and the member not being present, pursuant to standing order 127, it was withdrawn from the notice paper.
Ordered that executive business be called on.
Refugees and asylum seekers—resettlement
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.31): I move:
That this Assembly: