Working with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2021

ABOUT THE BILL

On 1 September 2021, Mr Robbie Katter MP, Member for Traeger, introduced the Working with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2021 (the Bill) and referred it to the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee (the committee) for detailed consideration. 

ViewWorking with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2021
ViewExplanatory notes
ViewExplanatory speech
ViewStatement of compatibility

Objectives of the Bill

This Bill primarily amends the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000. A number of other Acts, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (Justice, Land and Other Matters) Act 1984, are also amended; however, those amendments are consequential. The objectives of this Bill are to provide a new Blue Card framework that empowers Indigenous communities to make decisions which best serve their interests in relation to child protection and employment of community members. 

According to the explanatory notes, this Bill proposes to achieve this objective by creating a Blue Card assessment framework that overcomes the limitations of the current Blue Card system by enabling the local Community Justice Group (as defined in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities [Justice, Land and Other Matters] Act 1984) to make a binding recommendation to the chief executive to issue a restricted working with children clearance to an individual for work within that community even if the individual would be issued a negative notice by the chief executive due to previous criminal offences.

The new framework would enable a Community Justice Group to use its judgement, based on the knowledge of the specific circumstances and individual involved, to issue a binding recommendation to the chief executive to issue a restricted working with children clearance (previously known as a restricted positive notice), where a negative notice would have been issued by the chief executive due to previous serious offences being committed by the applicant. The type of serious offences that can be considered under the new framework are limited to the following: 

  • Criminal Code offences
    • Sections 409, 419 and 427, which relate to stealing with violence, burglary and unlawful entry of a vehicle;
  • Drugs Misuse Act offences
    • Sections 5,6,8 and 9D, which relate to trafficking dangerous drugs, supplying dangerous drugs, producing dangerous drugs and trafficking in relevant substances or things.

No other offences that are currently classified as serious offences or disqualifying offences can be considered by the Community Justice Group under the new framework. 

Under the Bill a new ‘class’ of Blue Card is created by the issuance of a restricted working with children clearance by the chief executive. This allows the holder to work only in the specific community to which the restricted working with children clearance relates.

Call for submissions

Submissions are now closed.  Submissions accepted by the committee can be accessed under the "View Submissions" tab.

Committee’s report

The committee was initially due to table its report on 1 March 2022. On 2 December 2021, the committee’s reporting date was extended by the Legislative Assembly, to 31 October 2022. Once tabled, the committee’s report will be published here.

Timeline

Submissions close:

5:00pm, Monday 22 November 2021

Public briefing:

9:00am - 9:30am, Monday 25 October 2021 - Program - Broadcast - Transcript

Public hearing:

TBC

Report due date:

31 October 2022

Public briefing and Public hearing

Committee hearings and briefings are generally open to the public and broadcast live on Parliament TV when held on the parliamentary precinct in Brisbane. Footage will be available to view for 12 months after its live broadcast. Transcripts of the proceedings are published in due course. Visitors to parliamentary proceedings are advised that they may be filmed by broadcast media and/or be included in photos taken by Parliamentary Service staff for purposes including posting on the Parliament’s website or social media sites. The Queensland Parliamentary Service is committed to protecting the images collected for this purpose in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009.

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