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Criminal Law (High Risk Offenders) (Psychologists) Amendment Bill

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (15:53): I rise to speak on the Criminal Law (High Risk Offenders) (Psychologists) Amendment Bill. The Attorney-General was able to make application to the courts that certain prisoners are deemed high risk and are subject to an extended supervision order at the end of their sentence. This is typically where there are concerns that a person is likely to reoffend and it is only for serious sexual offenders, serious violent offenders and terrorists.

In order for an extended supervision order to be granted, two reports need to be provided to the courts from approved forensic psychiatrists. This bill will broaden this clause so that the approved forensic psychologists will also be able to provide reports. Upon initial examination of this bill I held some concerns that forensic psychologists may not have the expertise required. However, I understand that Dr Nambiar, the chief forensic mental health psychiatrist, will still be responsible for allocating cases to participating professionals and that complex cases will be handled by psychiatrists.

Late yesterday, I was advised that the government had filed amendments to outline the experience required by psychologists before they are eligible. These amendments were made on the recommendation of Dr Nambiar and I think they are sensible amendments. Although I have no doubt and there is no indication that Dr Nambiar would allocate files to a person without the necessary skills, it is good to have these requirements set out in the act. I am supportive of this bill and these measures. It will assist in alleviating the workload for forensic psychiatrists and expedite applications for extended supervision orders.