PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is remaining silent on how the Department of Child Safety (DOCS) failed to help the homeless family of a nine-month-old baby whose body washed ashore on Gold Coast beach last week.
Ms Palaszczuk cited the child protection laws when declining to answer a series of Gold Coast Bulletin questions yesterday.
On Saturday, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported Child Safety repeatedly ignored police calls to help the homeless family. Cops visited the mother and father and their two children, aged nine months and two years, three times in 20 hours on November 16 and 17 and became so frustrated drove them to a relatives house in Kingscliff, only for the baby to be allegedly tossed into the Tweed River by her father hours later.
Worried residents, workers in the Broadbeach area and the homeless said the only authorities to visit the famly since May were police or council staff.
When asked on Friday about Child Safety’s failings, Minister Di Farmer cited the Child Protection Act and the matter being before the courts.
Ms Palaszczuk, who was at the State Disaster Management Centre yesterday dealing with fires threatening central Queensland homes, did the same.
After the baby’s body was founded washed up by a passerby at Surfers Paradise beach at 12.30am last Monday, the Premier said she “wanted answers”. “Queenslanders want answers”.
However, a spokesperson would only say yesterday: “The death of any child is a tragedy – for the family of the child, for their friends, and for the broader community.
“There are matters that are currently the subject of criminal proceedings in New South Wales, and may be the subject of further legal proceedings.”
The case would be reviewed both internally by the Department of Child Safety and externally by the independent Child Death Case Review Panel.
“Queenslanders rightly want answers but we must allow the police and other authorities to do their jobs,” the spokesperson said.
“That means complying with longstanding laws that require people including public officials to not disclose information in relation to child safety matters, and in particular the Child Protection Act 1999.”
Coast MP Ros Bates asked the Premier not to follow her Child Safety Minister by hiding behind “privacy and security arrangements” and “put children above politics”.