THE HON MARK DREYFUS KC MP
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
Improving family safety through better information sharing
The Albanese Government is making Australia’s family law system safer by improving access to vital information from state and territory family violence and child protection systems during family law proceedings.
The Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 progresses the Government’s commitment to ending gender-based violence in a generation.
The Bill introduces a new framework for information sharing under the Family Law Act 1975, giving effect to key aspects of the National Strategic Framework for Information Sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protection.
- Introduces two new information sharing orders for the courts to quickly seek information from police and child protection and firearms agencies about family violence, child abuse and neglect that could place children at risk;
- Repeals the requirement to obtain evidence about child abuse and family violence which is limited in scope;
- Ensures these orders are available at any point during proceedings so information is accurate and up-to-date throughout proceedings; and
- Increases protections to ensure sensitive information is only disclosed in a safe and appropriate manner.
This important change will mean those making decisions within the family law, family violence and child protection systems will be better informed, particularly in circumstances where there is risk of child abuse, neglect or family violence.
This Bill is informed by the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2019 report Family Law for the Future – An inquiry into the Family Law System and reflects the Government Response to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System.
This Bill complements the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 and will create a family law system that is safer, simpler to use and places the best interests of children at the centre of the system.
The information sharing arrangement amendments will be reviewed 12 months after their commencement, to ensure they are working as intended.
The Government recognises the advocacy of those with lived experiences of family and domestic violence. Their stories have been central to the development of this Bill.
I look forward to support across the Parliament for this important and necessary reform.
Wednesday 29 March 2023