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The historic Queensland Human Rights Act will be introduced from 01 January 2020. The Act is intended to protect and respect the freedom, equality and dignity of every person in Queensland. It is also a vehicle to help deliver better services and support for all Queenslanders, especially for those experiencing vulnerabilities in our society.
It is important that we in the volunteering sector all understand the obligations the Act places both on Queensland Government departments and organisations that are delivering services on behalf of the Queensland Government – which are all defined as ‘public entities’ under the Act.
When the Act commences, ‘public entities’ will need to consider human rights as part of your decision-making processes that apply to service delivery and policies that impact people in the community to whom you provide support, and also decisions that impact employees in your organisation. ‘Public entities’ will need to have systems in place that address human rights complaints if they arise.
Most volunteer-involving organisations that are deemed ‘public entities’, i.e. those delivering services on behalf of the Queensland Government, already have a solid rights-based approach to decision‑making, and/ or they have quality standards in place, e.g. the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF). Some adjustments may be required to existing policies, service delivery processes and practices, and general awareness raising to strengthen the human rights focus at an organisational level.
Volunteer-involving organisations that are ‘public entities’ are asked to note that volunteers (along with foster carers) are defined as a ‘public entity’.
Volunteering Queensland together with other Queensland human services peak bodies, Queensland Government departments, and the Queensland Human Rights Commission are committed to and are working closely and cooperatively to ensure those who work with Queenslanders understand their obligations and are ready for the commencement of the Act.
The Queensland Human Rights Commission and Community Legal Centres Queensland have been presenting informative face to face workshops and webinars on the Act during the past months and will continue to offer training opportunities in 2020.
Both the Queensland Human Rights Commission and Community Legal Centres Queensland have also developed an excellent suite of free online resources to help inform you about the Act. Links to resources and training opportunities, and further information can be found in our communique.
Volunteering Queensland will work with the Queensland Human Rights Commission to deliver training and information sessions on the Act in early 2020, with a particular focus on volunteers and volunteering.
Human rights is a big concept but it begins with each of us in our everyday work decisions and actions.
It is important that we all get involved and engaged with the Queensland human rights journey as together we can build a human rights culture and create a stronger, inclusive and fairer Queensland for all our people.
Please take a moment to complete this short survey
Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ) is leading an effort to better understanding what your organisation needs to effectively implement the Queensland Human Rights Act.
Your input is important and invited and can be made by completing this short survey found here.
Looking forward to an exciting 2020 and what we can achieve together to advance volunteering.
Have a Happy and Safe Festive Season.