Project status: Open

How to have YourSay

The ACT Government is considering how a higher minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) could be implemented in the ACT, and has developed a discussion paper for community comment.

Canberrans are being asked to provide feedback in writing on the the questions set out in the Discussion Paper.

You can have your say by providing a submission via email to

Please indicate on your submission whether you are happy for it to be made public for other Canberrans to read.

Comments must be received by no later than midnight on Thursday 5 August 2021.

In providing your input, we encourage you to consider the following questions and write a brief summary of your suggestions:

  • Should there be any exemptions or exceptions to the new MACR for children and young people that engage in repeated or very serious harmful behaviours?
  • What services should be introduced, reoriented or expanded to support children and young people who demonstrate harmful behaviours?
  • How should children and young people under the MACR be supported before, during and after crisis points?
  • How should this reform consider the rights of victims?

Please note: Input will be considered as it is received – the earlier you or your organisation provide input, the longer it will be available for the ACT Government to consider. Items arriving later in the process will have a shorter timeframe for review.

We are looking at

Across Australia, the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is 10 years. This means that children as young as 10 can be charged, convicted and incarcerated for a criminal offence.

Exposing children and young people to the criminal justice system can have a significant impact on their neurological and social development, and can result in life-long interactions with the justice system.

Following the 2020 election, the ACT Government committed to raising the MACR.

When increasing the MACR we can provide options for therapeutic and restorative care to reduce children and young people's interaction with the criminal justice system.

As part of this planning, the ACT Government has committed $120,000 towards an independent review which will identify service system changes that could support children and young people when the MACR is raised. These findings will complement community feedback we receive on the Discussion Paper.

We will use your views to

Comments we receive from the community and from the independent review will guide the ACT Government's approach to raising the MACR.

Once consultation on the Discussion Paper has closed, a Listening Report will be published and this may include submissions received unless privacy has been requested.


Please note the Justice and Community Safety Directorate retains the right to withhold input from publication if it believes that the content is defamatory, offensive, contravenes anti-discrimination or anti-vilification law or otherwise breaches any law.