Queensland Government response to the QHRC Anti-Discrimination Act review

On 23 April 2021, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence wrote to the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) requesting they undertake a review of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and consider whether there is a need for any reform to enhance and update the Act—taking into account Australian and international best practices—to best protect and promote equality, non-discrimination and the realisation of human rights.

On 1 September 2022, the QHRC’s report Building belonging: Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (the Building belonging report) was tabled in the Queensland Legislative Assembly alongside the Queensland Government’s interim response to the report.

The Queensland Government is proud to support in-principle all 122 recommendations of the QHRC.

The Queensland Government recognises there is a need for new anti-discrimination legislation to be introduced that reflects contemporary best practice and is in keeping with modern community expectations and standards of behaviour. The Queensland Government will introduce a Bill to repeal and replace the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 within the current term of government.

This represents significant law reform for the state, and it is important to carefully consider all elements of the new legislative framework to ensure it strikes the right balance between competing rights and interests, including the need to protect all people from discrimination and sexual harassment based on a contemporary understanding of equality.

This careful consideration will include looking at matters such as:

  • ensuring the recommendations are implemented in a way that is cohesive across the entirety of the proposed new anti-discrimination Act and that has regard to Queensland’s wider legislative context
  • considering approaches in other Australian jurisdictions (both at the commonwealth, state and territory level), as well as comparative international jurisdictions where relevant
  • considering impacts on individuals and organisations who will be impacted by the proposed reforms, and
  • other specific matters relevant to discrete recommendations as set out in the detailed response.

Importantly, we will continue to consult with stakeholders and the community as we work to implement these recommendations.

The Queensland Government once again thanks the QHRC for its comprehensive review and report, as well as all stakeholders and members of the public who shared their expertise and personal stories as part of the review. We know how important the views of our community were to the QHRC in undertaking their review, and they are equally as important to the Queensland Government. Stakeholders and members of the wider public will continue to have opportunities to participate at future key junctures, such as providing their views on any proposed draft legislation.

The values underpinning the Building belonging report—of equality, dignity, and respect—are values that are shared by the Queensland Government. We look forward to working together with the community to commence our journey of reform towards a modern anti-discrimination framework that reflects these shared values and aligns with contemporary standards of behaviour and expectations of equality.

Download and read the final Queensland Government response to the specific recommendations made in the Building belonging report.