The concerns the Victorian Ombudsman still has about the pandemic bill
The Victorian Ombudsman says the amendments made to Victoria’s controversial pandemic laws last night are “an improvement in a number of areas” but she still has significant concerns.
Ombudsman Deborah Glass says there’s a need for greater independent oversight than what’s currently possible under the proposed legislation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Glass’s office has been able to provide independent review on detention orders, but the Ombudsman’s office would no longer be able to do that under the changes proposed in the pandemic bill.
“I will no longer be able to do that under this legislation because the decision-making will move from the Chief Health Officer to the Premier or Minister for Heath and I don’t review decisions by ministers,” she told Neil Mitchell.
Ms Glass is also calling for a proper complaints mechanism for people that are affected by enforcement powers, stronger provisions around standards for people in detention, and an 18-month sunset clause on the legislation.
“I get it, that this is urgent. I get it that they are not going to be able to consult as widely as possibly we would all want … if you had a sunset clause basically you’re giving people the opportunity to go out and consult widely and look at this legislation in the light of experience.”