In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Human Rights


A Human Rights Culture

The Community Services Directorate (CSD) is committed to upholding the human rights of all people, through its own policies, programs and practices, and through those of the community organisations and businesses with whom it partners.

On 2 March 2004 the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Human Rights Act 2004, creating the first Bill of Rights in Australia. The intent of the Human Rights Act 2004 is to protect the human rights of people in the ACT, and to bring about a human rights culture within the ACT Government, its employees and community partners.

What are human rights?
Why do I need to know about human rights?
How does this relate to my work?
What resources are available to assist me if I am unsure?
Where can I go for advice or if I have a complaint?

What are Human Rights?

The Human Rights Act 2004 enshrines the rights articulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and provides an explicit statutory basis for respecting, protecting and promoting civil and political rights. Rights protected include:

  • the right to life;
  • protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
  • protection of the family and children;
  • freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief;
  • the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association;
  • freedom of expression;
  • humane treatment when deprived of liberty; and
  • the rights of minorities.

In addition, under Section 8(2) of the Act, everyone has the right to enjoy his or her human rights without distinction or discrimination of any kind.

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Why Do I Need to Know about Human Rights?

The Human Rights Act 2004 requires that public authorities comply with the rights set out in the Act. The definition of a public authority is broad. While it includes ACT Government agencies and their staff, it may also include community organisations and businesses in some instances.

An example of when a community organisation might be defined as a public authority might occur when the organisation is funded by the government to deliver a service that is normally a function of government (e.g. out-of-home care services). This would make the organisation a ‘functional public authority’, which would be legally required to comply with the rights set out in the Act.

From 1 January 2009, the Human Rights Act 2004 expressly requires public authorities to:

  • act consistently with human rights; and
  • when making decisions, give proper consideration to relevant human rights.

CSD has committed to upholding the human rights of all people in its Human Rights Policy
Human Rights Policy [PDF 213KB] [RTF 764KB]

Organisations may also opt-in, electing to be bound to comply with the human rights contained within the Act. The ACT Human Rights Commission - Obligations on Public Authorities External Link

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How Does this Relate to my Work?

Public authorities need to demonstrate that they have taken human rights considerations into account in their decision making processes. This will require that they document how human rights were taken into account when making a decision, developing a policy or implementing a procedure.

In many cases, compliance with the Human Rights Act 2004 will not require significant changes to existing practice. It is, however, important that there is evidence that human rights have been taken into account if the public authority is challenged on a particular decision. For this reason it is important that staff make themselves aware of the rights set out in the Act, that they comply with these rights in their work, and they document how they have considered rights in their decision making.

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What Resources are available to assist me if I am unsure?

Information on human rights and public authorities is available from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) website, www.hrc.act.gov.au External Link. CSD has also developed tools to assist staff to assess whether a decision is human rights compliant.

HRC Human Rights Checklist
The ACT Human Rights Commission - Obligations on Public Authorities External Link

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate provides information on mechanisms put in place by the ACT Government to protect citizens’ rights. This is available at http://www.justice.act.gov.au/protection_of_rights External Link

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Where can I go for advice or if I have a complaint?

You can send CSD comments, compliments, concerns and complaints in the following ways:

  • Face to Face
  • Contacting the Business Unit Directly
  • By using our Online Client Feedback Form
  • Phoning: 13 3427 (13DHCS) and requesting to speak with a Manager of the Business Unit you wish to Compliment or voice a Complaint.
  • Emailing us at csd@act.gov.au
  • Writing to us at PO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601

Client Feedback Form

You can obtain further information about these processes from Regulation, Oversight and Quality Service.

Community organisations and members of the public can also seek human rights advice from, or make complaints to, the ACT Human Rights Commission www.hrc.act.gov.au External Link.

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