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Attorney-General and Justice - Commission of Inquiry

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: Commission of Inquiry, Justice, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - The Budget provides $1.6 million for the Commission of Inquiry Response Unit, you have just called that CARCRU, is that right?

Ms ARCHER - Yes.

Dr WOODRUFF - The funding is to support the coordinated Government response to the commission of inquiry. The funding for the unit does run out before the commission of inquiry is due to hand down their final report. Can you clarify in terms of the budget line item, what does 'respond' mean in this context? Are we talking about a unit to progress recommendations?

Ms ARCHER - You are talking about CARCRU or the commission of inquiry?

Dr WOODRUFF - This says in the budget papers, 'Commission of Inquiry, whole of Government Response Unit, one year', this year, '$1.642 million'. Are we talking about the unit to progress recommendations similar to the Child Abuse Royal Commission Unit? Or is a unit to respond to individual allegations raised during the inquiry.

Ms ARCHER - I might get the secretary to address that.

Ms WEBSTER - The finances for the allocation for CARCRU - which is Amber's unit - is separate to the Commission of Inquiry Response Unit. They are two different funding items. The one that you refer to is in relation to providing support to agencies and indeed our agency when we are asked to respond to notices to produce for the Royal Commission.

Ms ARCHER - Everything goes to CARCRU which then contacts the relevant agency with the information.

Dr WOODRUFF - If it is to progress the recommendations of allegations made or to progress the recommendations at the end of the commission -

Ms ARCHER - We do not know what the recommendations are yet. The Premier and I expect they will be fairly fulsome. Whatever funding is required to address the recommendations we have before us then would be a matter for the next budget or whenever we choose to fund that. It has never been an issue that we would fund the commission of inquiry, that we would also fund CARCRU, and we will also look at the recommendations and fund what needs to come out that.

CARCRU has been originally set up to implement and respond to the national royal commission. Then, when we called the commission of inquiry at a state level, we have extended their remit, if you like, and so we have boosted their funding to deal with that. They are the first agency or unit that deals with these matters and then deals with all the agencies and that is what funding is for. Any response to recommendations then will be dealt with as and when required.

Dr WOODRUFF - The whole of government response unit, is that to primarily support the Solicitor-General?

Ms MIGNOT - Yes, it does. The Commission of Inquiry Response Unit has a dual reporting line to the secretary of Justice and also to the Office of the Solicitor-General to manage the legal request and requirements of the commission of inquiry. As the Attorney-General and the secretary have indicated, largely at the moment that relates to notices to produce and the formal request for information from the Government, regardless of agency.