Child Safety Minister needs to act on growing concerns

Saturday, 23 July 2016

  • Opposition calling for immediate action as reports surface of further incidents of child abuse
  • With response times blowing out, Minister Fentiman needs to stop reviewing and start doing
  • Revealed this week a majority of allegations are not being investigated within timeframes

The Opposition has called for urgent action from the Palaszczuk Government to deal with an alarming number of instances where children are in dangerous domestic situations.

Shadow Minister for Child Safety Ros Bates said front line officers continue to work day and night to protect Queensland kids but instead of taking action, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman is caught up in reviewing instead of doing.

“Today we’ve seen frightening reports of five children previously known to the child safety department being murdered, while a further 18 child deaths are being investigated under suspicious circumstances,” Ms Bates said.

“Child abuse response times continue to blow out because Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Minister refuse to act immediately to provide extra resources to frontline child safety officers to protect at-risk children.

“Shannon Fentiman can hide behind reviews and statistics, but behind every number there is another potential Mason Lee, who was known to the Minister’s Department and was not saved.

“The Minister needs to explain why nothing has been done to fix the problem after being advised of worrying response times in October 2015, admitting she had not deployed specialist investigation teams since being advised.

“Queenslanders have an expectation their Government is there to make a decision and do something.”

Ms Bates said the Opposition’s call for action comes after the Palaszczuk Government finally bowed to pressure and released statistics that confirm the state’s child safety system is in crisis.

“Queensland children are being left in dangerous situations for too long and we need immediate action to ensure better protection of our kids,” said Ms Bates.

“Figures released this week reveal that, under Labor, 10 per cent of Queensland children deemed to be in the most danger are not being seen within the recommended 24 hour time period.

“Seventy-one per cent of children that are supposed to be checked on within 5 days are not being seen in that timeframe.

“Queensland’s children that are in danger don’t need more reviews they need action now before another child is lost because overworked frontline child safety workers can’t get to them.”

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