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Submission to the Inquiry into a Legislated Spent Convictions Scheme

The Commission has provided a submission to the Inquiry into a Legislated Spent Convictions Scheme to argue that the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) should be amended to add an attribute to prohibit discrimination on the basis of an irrelevant criminal record.

Victoria is the only state or territory in Australia that does not have a spent convictions scheme, which allows for minor convictions to be wiped from someone’s record after a period of time with no offending.

The Commission also recommends that guidance is developed alongside any legislative amendments, to provide necessary practical information to employers, service providers and members of the community about the permissible uses of criminal records information – and information about relevance.

The Commission received 49 enquiries from across Victoria where people have been denied employment and access to services, long after a person is rehabilitated. Over the past 5 years we have received 200 enquiries.

These reforms are an important mechanism for supporting the dignity and equality of Victorians to be treated fairly and on merit. They will also have significant practical consequences in alleviating ongoing disadvantage.

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