Draft Terms of Reference released for Commission of Inquiry

Elise Archer,Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

There is no more important task for any Government than to ensure the safety and well-being of our children and the Tasmanian Government is committed to making a difference for the future.

Today, the Tasmanian Government has released the draft Terms of Reference for the upcoming Commission of Inquiry.

These draft Terms of Reference set out the scope and direction for the Inquiry, and provide powers to the Commissioners to enable them to conduct the Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Importantly, the draft Terms of Reference are very broad and wide-ranging and are based on the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse which were extensively scrutinised at both the national and state level.

Our Government’s absolute priority is to ensure the safety and protection of children, and to work as quickly and efficiently as we can to make sure our systems are doing just that.

The draft Terms of Reference give the Commission the ability to take any action needed in order to conduct its Inquiry. This includes any alleged abuse within Government institutions, private bodies, agencies, associations, clubs, institutions or any other group that provides, or has at any time provided, activities, facilities, programs or services of any kind that involves contact with children.

Next steps will be for the Government to provide advice to Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, to appoint the President and Commissioners. All additional staffing needs will be a matter for the Commission, once established. It will be a matter for the Commission to determine what resources it requires to fulfill the functions of the Inquiry. The Government will provide those resources.

Work is currently underway to identify suitable candidates for consideration with a mixture of significant legal and child-centric experience and expertise. It will obviously also be necessary for the Commission to be fully supported by senior legal counsel, legal officers, communications and media personnel, and other support staff.

We expect the President and Commissioners will be appointed early next year, with the Commission of Inquiry operational shortly afterwards.

Similar to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a suite of contracted support measures will also be available, including psychological and counselling support. The Government will also consider peer support from survivors for survivors and we are committed to having a package of measures ready for the start of the Inquiry.

Draft Terms of Reference for the Commission of Inquiry can be viewed here: https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/inquiry/draft-terms-of-reference

/Public Release. View in full here.