The recent review of the Adoption Act 2009 has seen the most significant overhaul of the adoption system in Queensland come to fruition in the form of the Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (‘the Bill’) being passed by Parliament in November 2016.
As a result of the Bill, the Adoption Act 2009 has been amended to widen the eligibility requirements for prospective applicants and now includes same-sex couples, single people and those who are undergoing fertility treatment. This brings Queensland into line with the majority of the other Australian jurisdictions (with the exception of the Northern Territory) and is another step forward for same-sex couples in bridging the equality gap.
In addition to those reforms, the Bill has also opened up avenues of communication to ensure that people affected by adoption are able to obtain relevant information about their family history.
The review period spanned approximately six (6) months and took into account the results of extensive consultations with the public and local communities, written submissions, online surveys, individual interviews and discussions with focus groups. The particular views of people who had been personally affected by the adoption process were sought, and the effect of the outdated heterosexual couple eligibility criteria on same-sex couples were discussed at length with concerned parties.
The main objective of the review was to ensure that the legislation enabled the chief decision-makers to select the most suitable person or persons as prospective parents for the adoption process, and to have the richest possible pool of eligible candidates to choose from. The proposed amendments suggested in the Bill allowed for a rich, diverse range of people to make up the pool of prospective parents, which could only benefit the children who are needing adoptive parents.
Overall, the general consensus was that it was time for change, and time to end the discrimination against those in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Trans or Inter-sex (‘LGBTI’) community.
The Act itself contains a self-regulation mechanism in that it provides that the operation and contents of the Act are to be reviewed as soon as practicable after five (5) years has expired to ensure that the legislation is in line with, and is still achieving the objective of the Act.
Should you require any assistance or advice in relation to the adoption process, or should you have any queries in relation to a family-related matter, our compassionate and experienced family law team are always on hand to assist. Please contact our Gold Coast office today on 5563 8970 to arrange a consultation to discuss your matter further.