Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Bill 2016
Written on the 3 February 2017
8 December 2016
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I am pleased to be able to rise this afternoon to speak to the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Bill 2016. I must admit that I was not expecting this bill to be on so quickly, but I am very pleased that I am here and able to speak to it. This bill goes to part of the government's plans to implement all of the recommendations of the family violence royal commission.
As colleagues and members will be aware, the report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence was delivered in March of this year and makes 227 recommendations. One of those recommendations, recommendation 199, is for the establishment of an entity to monitor the implementation of the royal commission's action plans and also to report on the implementation of the royal commission's recommendations. Hence this family violence reform implementation monitor is to be established. The implementation monitor is modelled on the bushfires royal commission implementation monitor, which was put in place following that royal commission to ensure that the recommendations that had been made through that royal commission process were actually implemented.
The bill not only establishes the position of the family violence reform implementation monitor, it also provides for the functions, powers and duties of the monitor. They are fairly specific, but the monitor can look to a body or an agency to ensure that those recommendations are undertaken as per the plan. As we know, the government has already allocated some $572 million in the budget towards the implementation of some 60-odd recommendations.
Mr Jennings interjected.
Ms CROZIER I thank Mr Jennings for that clarification. I was just checking my notes. I thought my memory served me correctly.
Mr Jennings It did.
Ms CROZIER That has been allocated for the first 60-odd recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. I suppose I would have liked to think this monitor was in place, because we have already started the process. I hope Mr Jennings will be able to clarify a couple of points for me. The Premier's office did give me some responses, which I was very grateful for after receiving a briefing from them, but I would also like to just ask Mr Jennings to confirm for me some points in a couple of other areas.
The bill itself talks about the responsible minister. When I asked in the briefing who the responsible minister was to be, the departmental officers could not provide me with an answer at the time, but they did come back to me and said that under the implementation monitor legislation as it has been introduced it will sit under the Premier in the general orders, so therefore it is the responsibility of the Premier. But I have subsequently heard Mr Jennings say that in fact it is him who is the responsible minister.
Mr Jennings I will clarify that for you.
Ms CROZIER If Mr Jennings could just clarify that when summing up, rather than going into committee, that would be most helpful. That would clear that up for my purposes. I thank the minister.
There were a couple of other points that I also raised in that briefing about the reporting, which is to be on 1 November each year. I noted during the briefing that the monitor is to prepare implementation reports as at 1 November 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 but that in November 2018 we will be in caretaker mode in the lead-up to the next election, which is two years away of course. The clarification I received from the briefing was that as the Parliament will have expired by 1 November 2018, the monitor will table its 1 November 2018 report in Parliament when the new Parliament is constituted. I ask that Mr Jennings also confirm that that is correct.
Mr Jennings interjected.
Ms CROZIER I thank Mr Jennings very much. I would be very grateful. I can see him nodding over there in answer to my question.
I had some other queries, and as I said, the Premier's office came back to me and provided that information to me. I hope the monitor will be independent and that he will not be directed by any ministerial advice or direction. I know Mr Tim Cartwright, who is very highly regarded in Victoria Police for his work there, was appointed on 1 September as implementation monitor.
Mr Ondarchie A good man.
Ms CROZIER He has excellent credentials. He is a former deputy commissioner of police. I have no doubt that he will undertake his duties with great authority and that he will want to do as much as he can in overseeing the implementation of the royal commission's recommendations. It is certainly my understanding that Mr Cartwright also had a great interest in family violence when he was in the police force and that he worked very closely with governments, both the current and previous governments, in relation to this issue. And all governments, I am pleased to say, want to see a reduction in family violence. I am pleased that everyone, from the Prime Minister down, is taking this issue very seriously. It is an issue that is being addressed by governments of all persuasions.
I am very pleased that our coalition government followed on from the Bracks and Brumby governments and their commencement of dealing with this issue, and of course now the current government has had the royal commission, which has made a very large body of recommendations. I believe there needs to be some more scrutiny over some of them, and I have said that in the past. We will see how that goes.
There are some concerns being raised by a number of people in relation to the priorities of the government, and I am hoping that the implementation monitor will be able to clarify some of those concerns of stakeholders and others about the priorities and what needs to be undertaken, rather than just putting out announcements in budgets and saying, 'This is what we are doing'. As I said, $572 million is a huge amount of money to look at implementing 60-odd recommendations without having a strategic or prioritised approach.
I am pleased that Mr Cartwright will be overseeing this implementation, and it will be interesting to see what is put in place and how it is done. There are many questions about funding aspects and what will be required, and some very big and difficult logistical issues have arisen out of the royal commission's findings. I know Mr Cartwright will be taking up his role with great diligence and great commitment to ensure that that is undertaken.
I am looking forward to hearing what Mr Jennings has to say on behalf of the government, but obviously the opposition is not opposing this legislation. We regard this as important and look forward to hearing from him. We will watch with great interest how the family violence royal commission's recommendations are rolled out and undertaken, how those priorities are set and whether any questions that arise during Mr Cartwright's oversight will be taken on with great regard by the government as well.