OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021

Elise Archer,Attorney-General

Minister for Corrections

The Tasmanian Government is committed to keeping our community safe while ensuring that those in detention are treated humanely, appropriately, and in accordance with international law.

That’s why I have today tabled the OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021 which supplements and expands the existing mechanisms for inspections and monitoring of standards in our places of detention.

Following Australia’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), each State is required to nominate a body or bodies to fulfil the role of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

The Government intends to introduce legislation creating the role of the NPM, which will regularly examine the treatment of persons in places of detention to ensure they are treated appropriately.

It will also enable visits of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, who will travel to Australia from time to time to assess our compliance with the norms of the United Nations concerning the treatment of people deprived of their liberty.

The OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021 will allow for:

  • the regular monitoring of places of detention, including prisons, youth detention, police stations, closed psychiatric facilities, and transport vehicles;
  • the publication of guidelines and standards;
  • annual reporting to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and information sharing with the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture;
  • the disclosure or communication of relevant information to the NPM by a person or body;
  • protection against reprisal for persons who provide information to the NPM;
  • the referral of matters by the NPM to another person or a body existing under law for investigation where appropriate (such as the Health Complaints Commissioner); and
  • visits to Tasmania by the SPT.

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