Vic Parliament News – Nov19

Parliament seeks regional views
A number of new parliamentary committee inquiries have been announced and are seeking the views of community members living in regional Victoria.

The Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee has launched a public inquiry into responses to historical forced adoptions in Victoria.

“This inquiry will explore the support services and responses provided to the people in our community who endured the past practice of forced adoption going back several decades,” Committee Chair Natalie Suleyman said.

Through forced adoption, also identified by some as forced family separation, a child’s natural parent, or parents, were compelled to give up their baby for adoption without their willing or informed consent. Groups involved included governments, non-government organisations, religious institutions and professionals such as doctors and social workers.

“It is an important opportunity for community members to provide information that will enable the Committee to assess what support has been provided and to make recommendations going forward,” Ms Suleyman said.

Written submissions are welcome until 3 February 2020, with further details available from the Committee’s website.

Another new public inquiry is examining the potential for removing prohibitions enacted by the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983.

The existing legislation prohibits various nuclear-related activities, including exploration for the production of uranium or thorium ore concentrates, conversion or enrichment of any nuclear material, and construction or operation of a nuclear reactor.

“This is a broad-ranging inquiry that will consider the current prohibitions on nuclear-related activities and whether there are economic, environmental and social benefits for Victoria from removal of those prohibitions,” said the Chair of the Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee, Cesar Melhem.

“The inquiry is an opportunity for both community members and experts to contribute their views to the Committee on the detailed terms of reference,” Mr Melhem said.

The terms of reference and information on how to make a submission are available from the Committee’s website.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee is also conducting two new reviews, examining the responses that have been made to reports by the Auditor-General.

One of those audit reports examined whether Victoria was meeting its obligations to protect wetlands under the international Ramsar Convention.  The other report examined the long-term planning and accountability mechanisms involved with Victorian school infrastructure programs.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee inquiries will consider how government departments have responded to the Auditor-General’s findings and recommendations in the two reports and what further actions are needed. Public submissions are welcome.

“Our Committee has an important role ensuring that government agencies are held accountable to the Parliament,” Committee Chair Lizzie Blandthorn said.

“Reviewing what actions government agencies take in response to audit reports is a vital part of that accountability process.”

For further details on the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee inquiries, go to its website.

To keep up to date with all Victorian parliamentary committee inquiries, subscribe free of charge to the Victorian Parliament’s email alert service via this link.

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Kat Baddeley

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