New Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in ACT

The ACT Government is today introducing legislation to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner.

The establishment of the Commissioner is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment under the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for this Assembly to fully implement the recommendations from the Our Booris, Our Way review. The role was co-designed with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to ensure that it meets the needs of the community.

Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne said, “The Commissioner will have a clear mandate to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the ACT, both individually and at a systemic level, to promote their rights and wellbeing.

“The Bill includes an explicit requirement for the Commissioner to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people from a cultural standpoint and recognises the importance of connectedness – to family, community, culture and Country – as critical to best interests, as proposed in the co-design process.

“The Commissioner’s role includes the ability to intervene on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in relation to decisions that will affect their rights or interests, such as care and protection matters in the Children’s Court.

“The ACT Government is committed to promoting the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people across a broad range of service systems, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Minister Cheyne said.

Following passage of the legislation through the Assembly, the Government will initiate a national recruitment process in collaboration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for the appointment of the inaugural Commissioner.

Funding for the role has been allocated as part of the 2022-23 Budget, with the ACT Government committing over $3.5 million to appropriately establish and staff the Commissioner and their office.

This includes a support team of four staff dedicated to improving services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.