I would like to join in talking about the Legal and Social Issues Committee’s report into the management of child sex offenders and the inquiry, which began with my motion when I first began in this place seemingly all those years ago. This was an inquiry that I was very pleased to be part of and extremely grateful for the contributions from all sides of the argument. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is about keeping our children safe and particularly safe from sexual predators. What this inquiry brought out is that the current system of managing registered sex offenders is in need of review and in danger of exhausting resources as we see more and more serious sex offenders being placed on the register. We need to be cognisant of this and the potential impacts that an overworked register may have on protecting our children. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions meant that we could not travel to certain places with a current public register in place, which operates also with limited disclosures, but it was very pleasing to see the recommendations, including that the government refers to the Victorian Law Reform Commission an inquiry into the circumstances in which a limited public disclosure scheme for registered sex offender information could be trialled, and also the recommendation that the Department of Education and Training develops best practice guidelines for the delivery of education aimed at preventing child sexual abuse in all forms, including online grooming. I believe that although we did meet virtually with some of these jurisdictions, there is and was more knowledge and information which the inquiry missed out on unfortunately.
I will speak more on this during my statement on reports, but for now I would like to thank—also following up what Ms Patten, the chair, said—Lilian Topic and more recently Matt Newington and the amazing staff of the Legal and Social Issues Committee and all the committee colleagues. Your work ethic and ability to manage large amounts of information within a short time frame is to be commended. Once again, thanks to the chair, Ms Patten, Dr Kieu as deputy and all the members of the committee who took part in the inquiry and public hearings, and I trust that you also gained some valuable insight and knowledge into a topic which is quite polarising and yet often misunderstood.