Effective 1 January 2008, as a result of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, (a piece of Victorian State Legislation), all public authorities (which includes State Government, local councils such as the City of Kingston, and a number of quasi government agencies) must consider relevant human rights when making a decision and must act in a manner that is compatible with human rights. The Charter applies to all people in Victoria. It does not apply to corporations. The Charter does not invalidate other existing legislation.
The Charter protects twenty Basic Human Rights (eg cultural rights, recognition and equality before the law, freedom of expression) , and these rights are aimed at assisting people to live with Freedom, Respect, Equality and Dignity. Laws and policies can put reasonable restrictions on human rights, but the limitations should be capable of being reasonably justified.
If you would like further information about the Charter and the rights it protects, please contact either of the following:
The Department of Justice Human Rights Unit and the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission are two State Government agencies that play an important role in relation to training and education/awareness about the Charter for the public sector and for the community in Victoria.
Ombudsman Victoria is another State Government agency that can deal with Charter related complaints from residents about public authorities. For further information, contact 03 9613 6222 or visit www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au