Preliminary feedback closes for latest Terms of Reference
The first opportunity to provide feedback to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council on its review of penalties for assaults on police and other frontline emergency service workers, corrective services officers and other public officers, has closed.
The Council will use the preliminary feedback to help identify key issues to be explored in more detail in an Issues Paper planned for release in early April in response to the Terms of Reference issued by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath MP, in December 2019.
Council Chair, John Robertson, said submissions received included those made by government departments and unions representing police and other frontline emergency service workers, such as firefighters and Queensland Health staff, as well as corrective services officers and other public officers. Other stakeholders who made submissions include the Queensland Human Rights Commission and Legal Aid Queensland.
“It is clear from submissions that Queenslanders are concerned about workers being adequately protected and are invested in the outcome of the review,” Mr Robertson said.
“The preliminary feedback will be highly beneficial in informing the Council’s approach to the Terms of Reference, including identifying areas for further investigation and research.”
Mr Robertson said the release of an Issues Paper will mark the next stage of the review and will assist in obtaining more targeted feedback about penalties for assaults on public officers.
“The paper will examine the relevant offence, penalty and sentencing provisions in other Australian and select international jurisdictions to address this type of offending along with any evidence of the impact of reforms, and we’ll be looking at causes, frequency and seriousness of offending,” Mr Robertson said.
“Among the matters we’ll consider is if the definition of ‘public officer’ in section 340 of the Criminal Code should be expanded to recognise other occupations, including public transport drivers such as bus and train drivers, as well as whether the penalties imposed on offenders convicted of these offences reflect stakeholder expectations.”
Consultation following the release of the Issues Paper will provide the next opportunity for the community and organisations to contribute feedback to the Council by considering the issues outlined and responding to some or all of the questions raised.
The Council will also meet with key stakeholders following the release of the Issues Paper as part of its commitment to listening to those with specific insights into the impact of assaults on public officers.
Keep up to date with the Council’s work on the Terms of Reference, as well as other news, by subscribing to the Council’s news service.
The Council will report back on the Terms of Reference to the Attorney-General by 30 June 2020.