|Executive Summary |
|1.||In this Report, the Select Committee (Committee) has recommended the establishment of a Commission for Children and Young People with a Commissioner at its head, appointed by the Governor. |
|2.||The Committee concluded that a commission structure with a commissioner enjoying comprehensive powers is the most appropriate means to establish advocacy for children and young people in Western Australia. This will enable better governance for them and ensure that both government and the Parliament are aware of their needs. |
|3.||The Committee has restricted the mandate of the Commissioner to working with children and young people aged under 18 years. |
|4.||On May 19 2004, the Minister for Community Development, Hon Sheila McHale MLA announced that the State Government intended to establish in 2005, a new independent children’s commission, headed by a children’s commissioner. The Committee welcomes this announcement and sees this Report as a useful basis for the work of establishing a Commission for Children and Young People in Western Australia. |
|5.||The Committee intended to prepare and append a draft bill to this Report. However, a majority of the Committee, comprising Hon Giz Watson MLC and Hon Kate Doust MLC decided not to proceed and therefore the draft bill does not appear with the Committee’s Report. Although the Committee did not finalise the draft bill, it found that it was a useful tool and assisted the Committee with its comparative analysis of the legislation of other jurisdictions, the crystallisation of issues for inquiry and the parameters of many of its recommendations. |
|6. Recommendations are grouped as they appear in the text at the page number indicated: |
|Page 50 |
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Government:
|Page 50 |
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that the work of the Commission for Children and Young People be consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
|Page 74 |
Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Commissioner and the Commission for Children and Young People be independent from Government. Accordingly:
(a) the Commission for Children and Young People be established by a separate, dedicated Act of Parliament;
(b) the Commission be autonomous, and free from Government direction and control;
(c) the Commissioner be appointed by the Governor on recommendation of the Premier after consultation with the leader of each political party with at least five members in either House; and
(d) the Commissioner be accountable directly to the Parliament, including, but not limited to, a requirement to table annual reports.
|Page 74 |
Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that a Commissioner be provided with comprehensive statutory powers to perform functions.
|Page 74 |
Recommendation 5: The majority of the Committee recommends that the Government consider a joint parliamentary committee to oversee the Commission and Commissioner and refers the Government to the oversighting legislation in NSW.
|Page 75 |
Recommendation 6: The Committee recommends that legislation establishing a Commission for Children and Young People should include specific reference to criteria for the eligibility of a person to be appointed as Commissioner for a five year, once renewable term of office.
|Page 86 |
Recommendation 7: The Committee recommends that a Commission and Commissioner for Children and Young People have responsibility for the interests of all children and young people, not just those considered at risk.