Legislative Amendments

Territory Families reached a key milestone in the law reform work we have been undertaking to introduce the Care and Protection of Children Amendment Bill and the Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill in the Legislative Assembly.

The Care and Protection of Children amendments are intended to empower children and families, improve current practice and create a cultural shift as we start the journey towards developing a Single Act for children across the Northern Territory.

The Youth Justice and Related Legislation amendments will mean new contemporary legislation to improve the youth justice system.

Youth Justice

  1. Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019.

The Youth Justice and Related Legislation amendments seeks to improve the youth justice system and implement 11 Royal Commission Recommendations through amendments to the Bail Act 1982, Police Administration Act 1978 and Youth Justice Act 2005. The key changes include:

  • improving the application of bail for young people, ensuring appropriate youth-specific consideration are given to bail options and decriminalising breach of bail conditions as an offence;
  • making youth diversion more accessible to young people by removing legislative barriers to its use, whilst maintaining police discretion to divert a youth in the case of serious offences;
  • confirming arrest as a measure of last resort;
  • setting limits on the time young people spend in police custody;
  • ensuring earlier access to legal assistance for young people to safeguard their rights;
  • improving young people’s understanding of their rights when in detention to enhance the Government’s compliance with international obligations;
  • protecting children and young people’s right to privacy to avoid harm being caused to them by undue publicity or labelling;
  • ensuring consistency for children and young people commencing legal proceedings; and
  • other technical matters.

Child Protection

  1. The Care and Protection of Children Amendment Bill 2019.

The Care and Protection of Children Amendment Bill 2019 implements 12 Royal Commission recommendations and reflects current reforms occurring in the family support, child protection and out-of-home care portfolios. The key changes include:

  • mandating early assessment, intervention and support;
  • updating the principles underlying the operation of the Act;
  • strengthening care planning;
  • improving court orders;
  • enhancing legal processes; and
  • formalising the transition to independence.

Both Bills are a significant step towards the development of a Single Act and have been referred to the Social Policy Scrutiny Committee of Parliament.

All new Legislation can be viewed here https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/inquiries

The role of the Social Policy Scrutiny Committee is to:

  • Inquire into and report on any matter within its subject area referred to it by the Assembly, a Minister or on its own motion; and
  • Examine any Bill referred to it by the Assembly and determine whether the Assembly should pass the Bill or amend the Bill and whether the Bill has sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals and the institution of Parliament.

To make a submission:

Ms Julia Knight
Committee Secretary
GPO Box 3721
Telephone:  (08) 8901 4149
Email: SPSC@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 02 April 2019