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Report Details

Committee Name:

Legislation Committee (2001 - 2005)


Legislative Council
Report Type:Report


Child Welfare Amendment Bill 2001
Report No:10
No of Pages:90
Physical Location:Legislative Council Committee Office

Presentation Date:

Inquiry Name(s):Child Welfare Amendment Bill 2001

Click here to view the report
Click here to view the Government's response to the report

Executive Summary

1.The Child Welfare Amendment Bill 2001 (Bill) was referred to the Standing Committee on Legislation
(Committee) on November 6 2001, under Standing Order 230(d) (now Standing Order 230A) of the Legislative Council.

2.The Government has plans to implement comprehensive legislation in early 2002 following a complete review of the Child Welfare Act 1947 (Principal Act). Delay in finalising that legislation (New Legislation) has resulted in the need, as an interim measure, to make a number of urgent amendments to the Principal Act.

3.The Bill amends the Principal Act in addressing five main issues:
a)inserting the ‘best interest of the child’ principle (clause 5);
b)redefining the term ‘parent’ (clause 6);
c)facilitating the exchange of information between agencies (clause 7);
d)inserting warrant provisions (clause 9); and
e)inserting interstate transfer provisions (clause 10), which aspect involves implementation of reciprocal legislation to facilitate a uniform national scheme.

4.The major part of the Bill (clause 10 inserting Part VIII into the Principal Act) implements a national agreement between the governments of Western Australia, other Australian states and territories and New Zealand, for the efficient transfer of child protection orders and proceedings for children who move between jurisdictions.

5.Many matters raised during the Committee’s inquiry are currently dealt with by administrative instruction or guidelines or will be addressed in that manner when the Bill is proclaimed. The Committee notes that some of the procedures and practices discussed by the subcommittee and Committee are to be enshrined in the New Legislation.


Recommendations are grouped as they appear in the text at the page number indicated:

Page 14
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Government give consideration to including in the New Legislation principles indicating factors to be considered when determining the ‘best interests of the child’

Page 18
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that, in respect of the privacy and security of information obtained by the Department of Community Development and ‘public authorities’ (as that term is defined in the Bill) pursuant to the provisions of the Bill, the Government give consideration to those matters addressed in the former Legislation Committee’s report No 54, in particular Chapter 7 of that report at pages 31 – 36 which are attached as Appendix 7 to this report.

Page 22
Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Government give consideration to developing legislation regulating the execution of warrants in relation to children and young persons and in so doing to have regard to the provisions of the Search Warrants Act 1985 (NSW).

Page 30
Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that the Child Welfare Amendment Bill 2001 be passed without amendment.