The Legislative Council agreed to the bill with the amendment indicated by the following schedule, to which amendment the Legislative Council desires the concurrence of the House of Assembly:
No. 1. Clause 6, page 3, lines 22 to 34—Leave out the clause.
Consideration in committee.
The Hon. R. SANDERSON: I move:
That the Legislative Council's amendment be agreed to.
I thank the members here and those in the other place—the Hon. Connie Bonaros, the Hon. Tammy Franks and my pair in the upper house, the Hon. Michelle Lensink—for their interest and engagement with this amendment bill and the important issue of child protection.
The proposed amendment to section 50(4) regarding the circumstances in which a reunification assessment would not be required to be undertaken will not proceed. We took this step in the interests of securing support for the bill and not delaying the scheduled commencement of the act and the important reforms it will bring to the child protection system.
I do not accept the assertions made by the member for Badcoe that this amendment in any way sought to water down the need for reunification assessments. The event of an emergency removal was not contemplated in the drafting of the act, nor was it recommended in the findings of Commissioner Nyland that a reunification assessment be made in the event of an emergency removal. This amendment made that clear by fixing potential drafting issues. I would refer the member for Badcoe to the relevant passages in chapter 9 of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report for a better understanding of the intent of the provision that her party drafted.
I recognise that during debate and in my staff providing briefings on this bill, a number of significant issues have been raised, in particular about including the 'best interests of the child' as the paramount consideration. I reconfirm my commitment to undertake a comprehensive review of this act in the following 12 months after its operation, and we will welcome input on this and other important issues as part of that review. This amendment bill will support a smooth transition for the commencement of this landmark child protection legislation on the 22 October. I thank members for their support.