Ombudsman's Quarterly Update | December 2022Date posted:
Human Rights Week is now with us – bringing an annual reminder of the importance of human rights in the daily lives of every one of us. The Ombudsman is Victoria’s human rights investigator – something we demonstrate publicly in reports tabled in Parliament and individually in our work resolving the thousands of complaints we receive each year. Human rights issues can crop up every day, for every one of us, and human rights breaches do not only take place in war-torn dictatorships far from our peaceful shores.
Victoria has had human rights legislation since 2006, protecting 20 fundamental rights and freedoms, giving us a legacy we should be proud of. But all too often human rights are poorly understood both by the public agencies who are obliged to consider them and by the public they are intended to protect. Human rights are often associated with the rights of prisoners, underlining the basic principle that those deprived of their liberty should not also be deprived of fairness, and I look forward to exploring the implications of this further at an international prisons conference in Melbourne in mid-December.
And in other recent developments, the fourth biennial recommendations report summarised the outcomes and improvements of two years of previous Ombudsman reports. The tangible results outlined in that report include $42 million paid out in grants from the Business Support Fund to previously rejected applicants – you can read more about that here.
Work continues on major investigations, including the Parliamentary referral into the alleged politicisation of the public service ; and into the claims process followed by employers that self-insure their workers and WorkSafe’s oversight of them . These will both be tabled in 2023.
Next year is also the 50th anniversary of the Victorian Ombudsman, a milestone in the life of any organisation, and one I look forward to celebrating. In the meantime, wishing all the readers of this newsletter a happy and peaceful festive season, as we hope for a restful and benign summer.