Leanne McLean is a Tasmanian from the deep south of the state. She was appointed Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in November 2018. Her role is to promote the rights and wellbeing of Tasmanian children and young people—including ensuring that their rights are considered and respected by adults when making decisions that may affect children.
Leanne has a wealth of experience as a leader in social policy development, including working at the coal face with young people and in senior public service and government advisory roles. As Commissioner, her work to date includes instigating the Tasmanian Government’s forthcoming strategy to improve the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children and young people, establishing mechanisms for children and young people to have a say in matters that are impacting on them, working with young Tasmanians across the state to influence the development, implementation and communication of policies which affect them, and empowering them to shape their own future.
Leanne is passionate about providing a voice for children and young people, believes strongly in the transformative power of education and early intervention, and the value of every young person in shaping the future of Tasmania.
The Commissioner for Children and Young People (“the Commissioner”) is an independent statutory officer responsible to the Parliament of Tasmania established under the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016 (Tas) (the CCYP Act).Read more
Unless otherwise specified, the Commissioner must act independently, impartially and in the public interest.
The Commissioner’s general functions are described in Section 8 of the CCYP Act. These functions include:
The Commissioner may publish reports, provide advice to Ministers and government agencies, and make submissions to inquiries and reviews. The Commissioner may also be asked to comment on draft legislation and on proposed policies, including on national issues where the matter in question has the capacity to affect children and young people in Tasmania.
The Commissioner may initiate a systemic inquiry or investigation and has wide powers to compel the production of information and documents needed to perform these functions.
The Commissioner can investigate some matters relating to the circumstances of individual children, but only if requested to do so by the Minister.
The Commissioner regularly speaks with and hears from members of the Tasmanian community, including children and young people, about a range of issues concerning young Tasmanians. Information received in this way is used to inform the Commissioner’s systemic advocacy work on behalf of children and young people.
The Commissioner may also refer matters (received or identified as part of an inquiry) to relevant authorities, including Tasmania Police, the Ombudsman, the Integrity Commission, the Custodial Inspector and the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.
In performing any function or power, the Commissioner must –
Noting the importance of the overarching principles set out above, the Commissioner’s work is also to be administered according to the following principles:
Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) in 1990. The Convention sets out a framework of rights for children and young people essential to the promotion and safeguarding of their interests and wellbeing.Read more
Since ratification of the Convention, independent children’s commissioners, advocates or guardians have been established in all Australian states and territories, and at a national level, to represent and promote the rights of all children, including by providing them with a voice about decisions that may affect them.
The first Tasmanian Commissioner was appointed in 2000. Consistent with the statutory functions set out in the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016, the Commissioner is responsible for advocating for children and young people in Tasmania generally, and for promoting, monitoring and reviewing their wellbeing.
In carrying out these functions, the Commissioner may investigate and make recommendations in respect of the systems, policies and practices of organisations that provide services that affect children and young people. The Commissioner may also investigate and make recommendations in respect of the effects of any legislation, proposed legislation, documents, government policies, or practices or procedures, or other matters relating to the wellbeing of children and young people.
Importantly, the Commissioner has a specific function to assist in ensuring that the State satisfies its national and international obligations with respect to children and young people generally.
When performing a function or exercising a power under the CCYP Act, the Commissioner must –
The legislative provisions described above provide a mandate for the Commissioner to advocate for, and to promote the wellbeing of, Tasmania’s children and young people through the lens of a child-rights framework.
By providing this mandate, and by allocating resourcing to the Commissioner’s office, the Tasmanian Government has acknowledged the importance of ensuring the Convention is embedded and promoted as a framework by which to inform and guide the development of legislation, policy, practices or procedures which have the potential to affect children and young people in Tasmania.
The Commissioner is supported by a small team of staff. The Commissioner’s workplace is based on collaboration, mutual respect and recognition of the unique skills and expertise that each team member brings to the work of the Commissioner.
The CCYP Ambassador Program is an opportunity for children and young people aged 9-17 years to have their voices heard on how things could be improved for children and young people in Tasmania. The CCYP Ambassador Program replaces the former Children and Young People Consultative Council.
Through regular regional meetings as well as an all-day state-wide event, CCYP Ambassadors have the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner and key decision makers in Tasmania to:
CCYP Ambassadors are selected each year following a state-wide expression of interest process and come from a diverse range of backgrounds and locations around the State. For more information please click here .
The Commissioner is required to establish a Children and Young People Advisory Council and in June 2019, Commissioner McLean established the CCYP Expert Advisory Council on Wellbeing (EACW) with a focus on supporting her work in promoting, monitoring and reviewing the wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmania. Members of the EACW come from diverse medical, academic and social services backgrounds and will assist the Commissioner by providing:
Members of the EACW are:
The first meeting of the Council was in July 2019.
AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONERS AND GUARDIANS
The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (ANZCCG) comprises national, state and territory children and young people commissioners, guardians and advocates.Read more
ANZCCG meets twice per year in May and November.
ANZCCG aims to promote and protect the safety, well-being and rights of children and young people in Australia, and to ensure that the best interests of children and young people are considered in public policy and program development across Australia.
ANZCCG was formerly known as the Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (ACCG). The New Zealand Children’s Commissioner became a formal member of the group in May 2018, and the group’s name changed to reflect their inclusion.
For more information about ANZCCG visit: http://accg.org.au/
The Commissioner is committed to promoting and protecting the rights, wellbeing and safety of the children and young people. To that end, a number of policies have been developed to guide the Commissioner’s interactions with children and young people.
Other policies are currently under review and will be updated here soon.
The Commissioner for Children and Young People is committed to ensuring administrative information about the Commissioner’s performance of her role is available to the public.
The Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) gives the public, the media and members of Parliament the right to access information the Commissioner holds, unless the information is exempt from release.
Under section 6 of the RTI Act the Commissioner is exempt from providing any requested information unless it relates to the Commissioner’s administration.
For more information about Right to Information, and how it applies to the Commissioner for Children and Young People, or if you are having difficulty locating information on the Commissioner’s website, please contact the Commissioner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (03) 6166 1366.
Please see the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Personal Information Protection Statement here.
Please contact the office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People if you have any questions.