Custodial Inspector Amendment (OPCAT) Bill 2020

Custodial Inspector Amendment (OPCAT) Bill 2020

TasCOSS welcomes the establishment of a National Preventative Mechanisms (NPM) in Tasmania. The Custodial Inspector Amendment (OPCAT) inspection system is designed to provide an ‘early warning system’ to prevent human rights abuses arising or worsening. Because it provides a protective, preventive mechanism for Tasmanians who may have their liberty deprived, it will therefore be an important addition to Tasmania’s human rights framework.

TasCOSS does however have concerns with the Bill as it is currently drafted. Those concerns relate primarily to adding additional functions to the Custodial Inspector’s existing role. We believe this will result in an under-resourced and under-powered NPM which is unable to fulfil its preventive mandate. 

TasCOSS recommends:

  • That the Bill be withdrawn so that consultation can occur with community service, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders on who is best placed to perform the NPM role in Tasmania, including with access to relevant training and expertise.
  • That any NPM legislation include non-primary places of detention.
  • That any NPM legislation incorporate all relevant Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recommendations on implementing OPCAT.
  • That a standalone Bill establishing a NPM be introduced that includes the above recommendations as well as a requirement that the NPM report to the Tasmanian Parliament as well as to the Commonwealth NPM.