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Genuine commitment to child protection required in State Budget

  • Child protection crisis needs to be addressed with more staff
  • Labor made commitment to employ additional 20 frontline officers
  • Latest figures show too many kids falling through the cracks

The Hodgman Liberal Government’s pending State Budget needs to finally show a genuine commitment to protecting Tasmanian children with greater funding for child safety.

Shadow Child Safety Minister Josh Willie said with recently obtained statistics showing hundreds of Tasmanian children remain at risk, the Liberals need to bolster frontline numbers so no child falls through the cracks.

“Labor committed to employing an additional 20 child safety officers and the pending State Budget should be reflecting the fact that there is a genuine and urgent need,” Mr Willie said.

“The current numbers are inadequate and staff who work at the frontline are under incredible pressure in a system the Hodgman Government has failed to adequately resource.

“The media recently revealed more than 280 children reported to the Child Safety Service had not been allocated a child safety officer to ensure they are safe.

“The figures revealed nearly 70 per cent of child safety officers in the North and North-West have unmanageable caseloads.

“Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch should be lobbying his colleague the Treasurer to ensure greater funding is dedicated to this crucial area next week.

“The fact is not one dollar of the $16.7 million recently committed by the State Government will go towards the employment of another child safety officer.

“The government admitted in 2015 the child protection system was broken.

“Three years later it’s clear nothing has changed and if anything the system has broken down further.

“The Minister needs to be listening to the people at the frontline who are at breaking point.

“They need extra resources so they can protect the states most vulnerable children when they are in danger.”