Shadow Minister for Child Safety, Tracy Davis MP, has today introduced a Bill to Queensland Parliament that would expand the mandatory reporting of harm provisions in the Child Protection Act 1999 to the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector.
Ms Davis said her Private Members Bill was the result of a long-running and dedicated campaign by John and Sue Sandeman, the grandparents of toddler Mason Parker who was tragically murdered in 2011, and who have been calling for these laws ever since.
“Mandatory reporting laws are an important part of the Queensland child protection system which can assist in the detection of serious cases of child abuse that might otherwise go unnoticed,” Ms Davis said.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has sat on an important report recommending these laws for too long, and I am pleased on behalf of the LNP to present this Bill into Parliament.”
An independent review of the ECEC sector’s role in Queensland’s mandatory reporting framework commenced in 2014 under the former LNP Government. This review was undertaken by the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) and their key recommendation to expand the laws was strongly supported by the community.
LNP member for Hinchinbrook Andrew Cripps has campaigned strongly for mandatory reporting laws to be extended to the early childhood sector over many years and said the Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to act to support today’s Bill.
“It is totally unacceptable that the Law Reform Commission’s report was presented to the Palaszczuk Labor Government in December 2015 but was only recently tabled for public access after the pressure from the LNP to do so,” Mr Cripps said.
“Queensland and Western Australia are currently the only jurisdictions that don’t identify the early childhood education and care sector as mandatory reporters.
“This frozen-at-the-wheel Labor Government has so far shown a callous disregard for the critical issue of child safety.
“With the lack of any Government response to the QLRC’s report, the LNP has put the wheels in motion so that our youngest children have greater protection.
“The LNP called for the review and the LNP is continuing to set the agenda in this Government’s absence. There is no time to waste on such an important matter.”