Saturday, July 13, 2024

Queensland announces new forensic science office

New legislation to govern the delivery of reliable and high-quality forensic services in Queensland was passed by Parliament today.

The Forensic Science Queensland Bill 2023 implements recommendation 121 of the 2022 Commission of Inquiry, which proposed a statutory framework for forensic services.

The Bill will establish the Director of Forensic Science Queensland (FSQ) to lead the provision of forensic services to the Queensland Police Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions, coroners, and other entities who perform functions related to the administration of criminal justice.

An Office of the Director of FSQ will be created to support the Director.

“DNA testing and analysis is a fundamental part of the criminal justice system,” said Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services, Shannon Fentiman.

“I want Queenslanders to be assured the Queensland Government is committed to delivering the highest standards of reliability and professionalism in our forensic services.

“This Bill was informed by consultation with a range of key stakeholders across fields such as forensics, law, and victim support.

“The Queensland Government is pleased to have this Bill passed by Parliament today, and it is an incredibly positive step towards restoring public confidence in Queensland’s forensic services,” she said.

The FSQ Advisory Council will also be established to monitor and review the policies and procedures of FSQ that relate to the administration of criminal justice.

The Bill’s main purpose is to ensure high-quality, reliable, independent, and impartial forensic services to the Queensland criminal justice system into the future.

This legislation sees Queensland become the first state in the country with a dedicated statutory framework governing the provision of forensic services.

“This legislation marks a significant stride towards reforming forensic services and establishing a high calibre system for the people of Queensland,” said Ms Fentiman.

“We know how challenging the Commissions of Inquiry have been for many victims and their families, and as we move forward with strengthening forensic service delivery, victims remain at the centre of this government’s reform.

“I want to reassure victims, and the wider public, that this Bill will help to ensure we never lose sight of the role, purpose and impact of forensic services in Queensland.”

Forensic Science Queensland is expected to be administratively assigned to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) in mid-2024.

DJAG will be conducting an international recruitment campaign for the Director and an open expression of interest process for Advisory Council members.

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