There have been four sitting weeks since my October update, and I have been pleased to speak in the chamber on several important issues.
Topics for motions and grieve speeches I’ve presented have included the value of tourism to our region, the important role of teachers, farmland access rights, recognising International Disaster Reduction day and lessons learned from the Pinery fire, acknowledging the late Letitia Linke of Ardrossan and all she did to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer (and raise significant amounts of money for research into a cure), commending the Hardwicke Bay community and its continued push for investment in a township slipway road, marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice on Remembrance Day, and speaking to the Residential Parks (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018 and, on 13 November, to the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Bill 2018.
In expanding on the importance of the latter, the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Bill fulfils another Marshall Liberal Government election promise, being to better protect the elderly and infirm and address the recommendations in the report delivered by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption the Hon Bruce Lander QC, entitled “Oakden – A Shameful Chapter in South Australia’s History”.
The Bill also addresses recommendations of the previous state and national inquiries into elder abuse, including the “Closing the Gaps” report; the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) inquiry into “Protecting the Rights of older Australians from Abuse”; and the “Final Report of the Joint Committee on Matters Relating to Elder Abuse.”
Sadly, one in 20 older Australians experience some form of abuse, often by someone they know and trust. And for every one reported case, it is likely that another five remain hidden thus the cost to the individual, families, society and government, is significant.
The Bill provides for the establishment of a new Adult Safeguarding Unit to be located within the Office for Ageing Well within the Department of Health and Wellbeing, which will have Authorised Officers with powers to investigate reports of abuse effectively and swiftly. The legislation and operation of this Unit is also further supported by a “Charter of the Rights and Freedoms of Vulnerable Adults”, and the development of regulations and a new comprehensive Code of Practice.
I am proud to advise this legislation developed by the Marshall Liberal Government is the first of its kind in Australia.