21 October, 2016The South Australian Parliament has passed legislation establishing the role of Commissioner for Children and Young People and setting out how it will co-ordinate its work with the Guardian for Children and Young People, the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee and a newly established Child Development Council.
The Bill passed the Upper House on 19 October after intervention by several MLCs to address problems with the Bill that were identified by a number of organisations.
Chief among changes to the Bill sought by the Guardian were amendments that:
- guaranteed the independence and funding of the Guardian for Children and Young People
- provided that the voices of young people should be heard and responded to in a variety of ways
- tied the work of the Commissioner and the other bodies in the Act to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Unsuccessful was the lobbying by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations for the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-commissioner.
The Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care, although omitted from the Bill, is understood to be included in other legislative changes to be placed before Parliament in the next 12 months.
The legislation must be reviewed within three years.
The Guardian’s Office was one of a number of organisations that combined to address issues within the Bill and have drafted a joint media statement.