OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021

TasCOSS does not support establishing the Custodial Inspector as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and we urge the Tasmanian Government to consider alternative models that incorporate the expertise of civil society organisations. We further believe the OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021 needs to include provision to adequately resource the NPM and to provide for protection against reprisals for anyone who reports to the NPM. We also propose amendments that would better align the Bill with the intention of OPCAT and provide better human rights protections for all Tasmanians.

Recommendations:

  • The Tasmanian Government engage with Tasmanian civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders about alternative options for a NPM.
  • A provision guaranteeing the Tasmanian NPM is provided with ‘the resources required for exercising their functions’ should be added to the Bill.
  • Future State Budgets commencing in 2022/23 should provide funding for the NPM and its functions.
  • The Bill should include a provision to ensure people providing the Tasmanian NPM with information are adequately protected for reprisals.
  • Part 2, Section 12 (4) of the Bill (‘Staff’) should be amended to include the need for the Tasmanian NPM to make efforts to recruit and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island staff and people with a disability as a priority.
  • Replace ‘detainee’ with ‘person or persons deprived of their liberty’.
  • The full text of OPCAT is included as a Schedule in the Bill.