Queensland’s historic Human Rights Act (the Act) will commence from 1 January 2020. The Act is intended to protect and respect the freedom, equality and dignity of every person in Queensland.It is important that we 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 under the Act are all defined as public entities.Disability service providers delivering services as a registered provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 are also captured by the Act. Under the Act, NDIS registered providers are considered public entities.When the Act commences, public entities will need to consider human rights as part of their decision-making processes. This applies equally to direct service delivery, to writing laws and policies that affect people in the community, plus decisions that impact employees. Public entities also need to have systems that can address human rights complaints that arise. While the Act is something new for public entities to implement, most organisations will be well placed because they already have a solid rights-based approach to decision making, and/or they have quality standards in place such as the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF). Amendments to strengthen the human rights focus in the HSQF are effective from 1 January, and will be communicated to participating organisations shortly. Queensland Government departments, the Queensland Human Rights Commission, and Peak bodies are working closely and cooperatively to ensure those who work with Queenslanders who experience vulnerabilities understand their obligations.It is important to get involved and engaged with Queensland human rights journey. Together we can build a human rights culture and create a stronger and fairer Queensland for all people. There are a range of ways you can get involved with human rights and prepare for the commencement of the Act, including:
Human rights is a big concept but it begins with each of us in our everyday work decisions and actions. Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ) is interested in better understanding what your organisation needs to implement the Human Rights Act in your organisation. You can tell CLCQ by responding to a short survey found here.