Staff from the ACT Ombudsman Team and the Law Enforcement Team interact in a variety of ways with community sector organisations and individuals. The reason for doing so is to generate public awareness of the right to complain to the Ombudsman and to build confidence in the role of the Ombudsman in managing and investigating complaints about ACT Government agencies and ACT Policing.
The Ombudsman was pleased to receive additional funding from the Australian Government in the 2004–05 Budget for outreach activities. In 2004–05, strategies will be developed to increase outreach activities in rural and regional communities.
Some of our activities during the year:
- ACT Team and Law Enforcement Team members visited the communities of Wreck Bay and Jervis Bay in conjunction with the NSW Ombudsman's office to provide information about the role of the Ombudsman. This successful visit highlighted a continuing need for the ACT and NSW Ombudsman to maintain a close relationship with the community. Further visits are proposed for the coming year.
- Regular Ombudsman visits to the Quamby Youth Detention Centre, Symonston Temporary Remand and Periodic Detention Centre and Belconnen Remand Centre provided a useful opportunity to outline the role of the Ombudsman and explain how detainees can make complaints.
- Outreach visits were conducted to local libraries, community centres, youth centres, government shopfronts and federal parliamentarians representing electorates within the ACT, as well as to the Federal Member for Eden-Monaro.
Section 23 of the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993 requires that ACT agencies report each year against:
- requests made by the Commissioner under section 18 of the Act
- details of any assistance requested
- details of investigations carried out
- recommendations made and action taken by the agency.
During the year, the Ombudsman did not receive any requests from the Commissioner to provide information to assist with his preparation of a state of the environment report.
The Ombudsman provides information sheets on how to make a complaint in 26 community languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Filipino, Greek, Italian, Korean and Vietnamese. Information sheets are available on our website homepage at www.ombudsman.act.gov.au.
A presentation was made at the Annual General Meeting of the ACT Multicultural Council about the role of the Ombudsman.