Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Education and training of staff on human rights principles

Training is made available through the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) and Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) training calendars enabling staff to undertake training on human rights principles as part of their learning development plan. This may include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness (184 participants attended across 12 virtual sessions facilitated by Curijo Pty Ltd)
  • Disability Confidence (e-learning; 358 participants completed)
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) Awareness (142 participants attended across seven sessions facilitated by Meridian ACT)
  • Domestic and Family Violence Awareness (e-learning, 444 participants completed)
  • Privacy Awareness (e-learning, 636 participants completed)
  • the RED Framework (177 participants attended across 19 sessions facilitated by CIT Solutions); and
  • REDCO training (two CMTEDD staff attended one whole-of-government session facilitated by Petersen Ink).

In addition, CMTEDD celebrated and contributed to awareness-raising of human rights in the workplace, though the following activities:

  • The 2021- 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has been launched, following staff consultation. A key development reflected in the new Strategy is the introduction of CMTEDD Culture Champions. This model moves away from having individual diversity champions responsible for the varying elements of diversity and inclusion, to a more holistic approach where diversity and inclusion issues will be addressed collectively
  • Promotion of nationally significant events including National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week, Harmony Day, International Day for People with Disability, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, International Women’s Day, R U OK Day, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and Wear it Purple Day
  • Continuing our reconciliation journey through our CMTEDD Stretch RAP April 2020 - April 2023 and supporting the RAP Working Group who have a shared RAP vision and will oversee the RAP implementation and drive reconciliation initiatives across the Directorate; and
  • Supporting our staff networks which provide employees with supportive forums to engage in conversation on diversity matters in the workplace. CMTEDD has an established Pride Network, a Disability Employee Network (Enable), and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network supported by a Cultural Adviser role. 

Reviews undertaken of internal policies and procedures for compatibility with human rights

The Cabinet Handbook (updated February 2021) and available on the CMTEDD website, outlines the procedures and conventions of Cabinet, and discusses how the Human Rights Act 2004 affects the operation of ACT legislation, including when a human rights compatibility statement is required.

CMTEDD commenced a Human Rights campaign in March 2020 commencing with a series of face-to-face training sessions.  The campaign to raise awareness of responsibilities under Human Rights was unfortunately suspended due to priorities and resourcing to address the COVID-19 pandemic response.  This work will recommence in 2021-22.

Any guidelines or checklists developed to incorporate consideration of public authority obligations under s 40B of the Human Rights Act in decision making

The Cabinet Handbook (updated February 2021) and available on the CMTEDD website, outlines the procedures and conventions of Cabinet, and discusses how the Human Rights Act 2004 affects the operation of ACT legislation, including when a human rights compatibility statement is required.

CMTEDD commenced a Human Rights campaign in March 2020 commencing with a series of face-to-face training sessions.  The campaign to raise awareness of responsibilities under Human Rights was unfortunately suspended due to priorities and resourcing to address the COVID-19 pandemic response.  This work will recommence in 2021-22.

Any dissemination of information about agency obligations under the Human Rights Act to clients

An example is in Access Canberra. If an adverse decision is made in relation to an application to Access Canberra, then the applicant is provided with reasons and informed of their rights for both internal review and external review. 

Human Rights Act considerations included in the complaints handling framework

Revised versions of the CMTEDD Guide to Handling Complaints and Privacy Complaints Handling Policy are being finalised. Both documents have a strong focus on the rights of individuals to make complaints about issues affecting them or someone they are acting on behalf of, and for the complaints to be dealt with in a fair, impartial, and professional manner.

The CMTEDD Employee Relations teams are aware that the ACT is a human rights jurisdiction, and as such consider the relevant legislation when handling complaints. When handling complaints, the CMTEDD Employee Relations teams ensure that the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are
adhered to.

Procurement ACT has a supplier complaints framework. Principles of natural justice are incorporated
into the procedure. The Human Rights Act was not specifically incorporated into the supplier complaints framework.

Inclusion of Human Rights Act obligations in contracts and tenders

While no explicit reference is made in these documents to the Human Rights Act, it is a requirement of all respondents that they agree to abide by all relevant legislation in connection with any engagement that they might have with the Territory.

Internal dissemination of information to staff on the legislative scrutiny process

The Cabinet Handbook (updated February 2021) and available on the CMTEDD website, outlines the procedures and conventions of Cabinet, and discusses how the Human Rights Act 2004 affects the operation of ACT legislation, including when a human rights compatibility statement is required.

Liaison with the Human Rights Advisors on human rights principles or the legislative scrutiny process

Work Health and Safety

The Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Group liaised with the Human Rights Scrutiny Team within the Justice and Community Safety (JACS) Directorate in relation to one Cabinet Submission.  Human rights were identified in relation to introducing industrial manslaughter under the Territory’s work health and safety laws. No significant concerns were raised.

One compatibility statement was issued in relation a new legislative proposal, the Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2021, developed by the Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Group

Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices

The Sexuality and Conversion Practices Bill 2020 which was introduced and passed by the Government in August 2020 engaged human rights principles. A human rights compatibility statement was prepared for the Bill. The Bill was also considered twice by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny Role) Committee and provided comments which were responded to by the Government.

Revenue Legislation

The ACT Revenue Office liaised with the Human Rights Team at JACS and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on a number of matters relating to the development of legislation during 2020-21, including:

  • Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 – in relation to amendments to the Taxation Administration Act 1999 (permitted disclosure provisions). A compatibility statement was issued for the introduction of the Bill.
  • Taxation Administration (Payroll Tax - Businesses Not Permitted to Operate) COVID-19 Exemption Scheme Determination 2021 (DI2021-10) – a scheme to exempt eligible businesses from payroll tax where the businesses were not permitted to operate due to a COVID-19 emergency direction. The HRC was consulted and the Minister stated the scheme was consistent with human rights.
  • Taxation Administration (Payroll Tax) COVID-19 Exemption Scheme Determination 2021 (DI2021-11), and Taxation Administration (Payroll Tax) COVID-19 Exemption Scheme Determination 2021 (No 2) (DI2021-177) – a scheme to exempt wages paid to eligible apprentices or trainees from payroll tax. The HRC was consulted and the Minister stated the scheme was consistent with human rights.
  • Ongoing operation of certain COVID-19 revenue measures. JACS Human Rights Team was consulted.

CMTEDD has subsequently responded to comments made by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny role) regarding the Taxation Administration (Payroll Tax) COVID-19 Exemption Scheme Determination 2021 (DI2021-11) to clarify why a retrospective commencement date was not provided for in the instrument.

Working with Vulnerable People

During the 2020-21 financial year, Access Canberra engaged with a Human Rights advisor in response to Scrutiny Committee comments on the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Risk Assessment Guidelines.

Access Canberra

Access Canberra Senior Executives met with the President and Commissioners of the HRC on 24 September 2020 to discuss key issues, including:

  • significant service changes that have occurred during COVID-19
  • WWVP and NDIS project implementation
  • accessibility of services
  • resolution of complaints including managing challenging clients
  • focus on improving communications and engagement
  • greater transparency and the use of data, and
  • observations of the Commissioners

Reviews or preparations for reviews of existing legislation for compatibility with the Human Rights Act

CMTEDD has not undertaken any reviews of existing legislation for compatibility with the Human Rights Act 2004 during 2020-21.

Litigation

CMTEDD People and Capability participated in one conciliation session at the ACT Human Rights Commission for the 2020-21 financial year.

The matter was settled after mediation.