Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019, which came into effect on 1 January 2020, aims to protect and promote human rights, and to help build a culture in the Queensland public sector that respects and promotes human rights.

QCOSS is committed to supporting the community sector with the skills, practice and tools needed to deliver human rights-respecting services, which will deliver improved outcomes for children, young people, people with disability, First Nations Peoples and women throughout Queensland.

The Human Rights Act review is underway

Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 includes a provision requiring the operation of the Act to be independently reviewed as soon as practicable after 1 July 2023.

Professor Susan Harris Rimmer has been appointed by the Attorney-General to undertake this review of the Act. Professor Harris Rimmer is an international human rights law expert with expertise in climate justice and gender equality. You can read more about her extensive experience on the Griffith University website.

The review is independent from government and from the Commission, and will examine how effective the Act’s current provisions are and any issues which have arisen in the way the Act operates.

The review will examine the period of the Act’s operation to 30 June 2023, and is required to provide a report to the Attorney-General by 20 September 2024. You can find the Terms of Reference and other information on the review’s website.

The session, available for playback now on-demand, is a great opportunity learn how you can engage in the review going forward. Reflect on how our Human Rights Act is serving the community, and to explore areas where it can be strengthened.

Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) issue paper: Eight ways to strengthen the Human Rights Act

Some of the key issues the QHRC believe should be addressed to make the Act stronger and more effective in building a human rights culture in Queensland are outlined in a new issues paper.

Those areas are:

  • Allow people to take human rights matters to court
  • Remove the override provision
  • Better protect victims of violence
  • Consider adding more protected rights
  • Educate people about their rights and obligations
  • Ensure people have a say in matters that affect them
  • Strengthen human rights complaint processes
  • Fund legal assistance.

Get involved:

Have your say on the review by writing a submission to the review, due by Friday, 21 June 2024. To help you get started on your submission, QCOSS has developed a submission template and guidance on how to engage with the review. Download it here.

You can also encourage your clients and service users to respond to the Independent Review Survey and share their thoughts and experiences of the Human Rights Act here.

Does your community service organisation have feedback about the Human Rights Act which you can provide to QCOSS? Or does your community service organisation intend to make a submission, and have an interest in joining our submission working group for the review? We’d love to hear from youyou can reach us at [email protected] to find out more.

Are you interested in human rights?

Our quarterly newsletter delivers the latest human rights related news, resources and learning opportunities straight to your inbox. You can subscribe below:

Human rights in action

Our Human Rights in Action event series is tailor made to improve the capacity of the Queensland social service sector to understand how they can use the Act in their work – whether it be in advocacy, service delivery or service design.

Our past Human Rights in Action webinars explore laws of consent and excuse of mistake of fact, coercive control, Child Protection Act changes, cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, restrictive practices reform, supported decision making, and many many more.

Upcoming webinars

Check back soon for details of our next Human Rights in Action event.

Blogs

  • Larissa Baldwin (GetUp CEO)

Conversation with Larissa Baldwin, GetUp CEO

This month, I caught up with proud Widjabul Wia-bul woman, Larissa Baldwin-Roberts, who among many other community commitments is the CEO of GetUp! and Director of Research for Passing the Message Stick—a First Nations-led research project designed to shift public narrative in support of First Nations justice and self-determination.

Human rights, housing and homelessness project

During 2021, QCOSS partnered with the Department of Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Communities and the Arts (DTATSIPCA) and the housing and homelessness sector to highlight our commitment to human rights. The project aimed to:

  • build understanding of the Act
  • increase confidence to work compatibly with the Act
  • support our sectors to use the Act for person-centred service delivery.

QCOSS delivered a range of engagement activities to support the housing and homelessness sector to act compatibly with the Act and increase human rights literacy.

Project resources

Informed by the work of the project, we’ve developed a suite of handy resources for you, available now on our Community Door platform! From introductory information about the Act, to a self-service training workbook, you will find resources for staff new to community services, as well as resources for the seasoned professional.

Check out the range of guides covering proper consideration, human rights complaints, advocacy and Governance, as well as practical tools and a case study library. Make your workplace a human rights-aligned organisation by using these resources to discuss human rights with your colleagues.

21 July 2023