Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2623 ..
I also thank Ms Le Couteur for her active engagement with the bill. In response to her comments here today, I can confirm that the government, and indeed the senior practitioner herself, will monitor the effectiveness of the legislation as it is implemented.
While this legislation is modelled to a large extent on senior practitioner legislation in other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria, its scope is broader. In some ways we are entering uncharted territory, and we will of course continue to monitor how that plays out in practice and make any amendments that may be necessary as we go forward.
I also thank Mrs Kikkert for her comments and acknowledge that yes, indeed, the senior practitioner’s role will provide greater support to foster and kinship carers in undertaking their very important work to support the most vulnerable children in our community.
This bill will bring about greater protection from restrictive practices by establishing a formal protection and oversight mechanism for the ACT. It will enshrine the principle that service providers should use restrictive practices only in very limited circumstances, as a last resort, in the least restrictive way and for the shortest period possible in the circumstances.
The purpose of this bill is to establish and define the functions of an ACT senior practitioner and provide a formal framework for the overall reduction and elimination of restrictive practices in the ACT. The Senior Practitioner Bill supports the ACT government’s commitment to improving the lives of all people who are vulnerable and potentially subject to restrictive practices, as well as upholding their human rights.
This bill will provide greater and much called for assurance for all providers who work with people who display challenging and complex behaviours. It also ensures that we meet our commitments under the national disability insurance scheme, including the NDIS quality and safeguarding framework and the national framework for reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices in the disability sector.
The bill is specifically aimed at regulating the use of restrictive practices by service providers. I wish to make it quite clear that it does not apply to families or informal carers for an individual.
While our commitments under the NDIS have given clear time frames for the establishment of a senior practitioner in the ACT, this bill seeks to provide greater protection for all members of our community who are vulnerable or potentially subject to restrictive practices, not just those with a disability.
The senior practitioner’s powers will extend to disability services, including for psychosocial disabilities; schools and other education settings; and children and young people in out-of-home care. Specific exemptions have been made for persons receiving care under the Mental Health Act 2015 to the extent that the act applies, patients in secure mental health facilities and those in custodial prison detention,