The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:02): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Human Services a question regarding the Training Centre Visitor.
The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS: On 25 September 2018, the parliament received the annual report of the Training Centre Visitor, Ms Penny Wright. On pages 26 and 27 of that report, Ms Wright stated she had received Crown law advice about the limits of her role, which potentially raised significant risk for her, her staff and the vulnerable children she advocates for in the youth justice system. Recommendations were made for legislative change, which would assist and protect her and the vulnerable young people.
This particularly refers to young people in the youth training centre who are in temporary care in a hospital, for example, and where the visitor has no jurisdiction to advocate. Also raised is that the visitor, Ms Wright, is unable to delegate any part of her role in order to deal with the demand placed upon her role. My question to the minister is: why, over a year later, has the minister not acted on this report and made changes?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:03): I thank the honourable member for her question. In relation to the first issue, which is the matter of the mandate and scope of the locations where the Training Centre Visitor can conduct her role as the Training Centre Visitor, that was a decision that was laid down by the parliament. I think it was in 2016, when the act was brought into parliament.
My reading of that debate was that it was not anticipated that the Training Centre Visitor was responsible for young people in custody who were located outside of the physical centre, that is, to state the obvious, that the parliament took the view that we had a Training Centre Visitor to inspect the physical site of the centre and not beyond that. The Training Centre Visitor has a particular view that it would be desirable to have a role to inspect other places where somebody may be. The government's view is that there are other particular responsibilities within other sections that have those specific responsibilities.
The other matter is in relation to delegation. The advice I have received is that the Visitor is able to provide tasks to other staff who are employed in her office, but that to provide a specific delegation would be inconsistent with similar roles.
The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:05): Supplementary arising from the original answer, on the basis of what you have responded. Has the minister responded in writing to Ms Wright about her recommendations for legislative change and, if so, will the minister table that correspondence?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:05): I can't recall whether I have actually written back to the Training Centre Visitor. I have met her on several occasions. She also meets not just with staff at the training centre but also with staff within my department. I'm reasonably certain that these views have been expressed in the past. I will check whether there is any specific letter that I have on record that I can provide, and go through the usual processes to ensure whether that can be tabled or not. I'm not sure whether I have actually provided that information in writing