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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 May 2020) . . Page.. 951 ..

environmental impacts as waste facilities, and this amendment is a sensible provision to reduce red tape for operators of collection points and reverse vending machines.

In conclusion, the bill makes amendments that improve, clarify and streamline laws. While the amendments in the bill are minor in nature, the changes are necessary and worthwhile improvements to the ACT’s statute book. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Parton) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes (Offences Against Vulnerable People) Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

Mr Ramsay, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events, Minister for Building Quality Improvement, Minister for Business and Regulatory Services and Minister for Seniors and Veterans) (11.31): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am very pleased today to present the Crimes (Offences Against Vulnerable People) Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 to the Assembly. This bill responds to the community’s desire to better protect vulnerable adults—the elderly and those with disabilities. The measures shine light into dark places where abuse and neglect can thrive through isolation, manipulation and fear.

A vital element of the bill is the definition of “vulnerable person”. A primary focus is to protect our elders, particularly those aged 60 and over who are reliant on the care of others and who have a particular vulnerability, such as a disability. Uniquely, the bill also includes an understanding of vulnerability to mean where a person is socially isolated or unable to participate in the life of the person’s community.

This is an expansive understanding of vulnerability which has been called for by vulnerable people themselves. It is informed by an understanding that traditional definitions of abuse and the existing responses in the criminal law have been inadequate. The Australian Association of Gerontology has stressed the need for jurisdictions enacting legislation to embrace a broader concept of elder abuse, directed at the particular features which make a person susceptible to abuse.

This bill does that. This bill addresses abusive and neglectful behaviour in a way that provisions in the existing criminal law simply do not. In summary, the bill will create three new offences intended to protect vulnerable people from abuse, and creates a new sentencing consideration for the courts. This bill shifts the law to better serve the community’s needs and values by protecting vulnerable people from a range of

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