Minister must return from holiday to address Child Protection emergency
- Minister missing in action – again – as emergency continues to unfold
- Premier too quick to dismiss serious claims of frontline workers
- New discrepancy revealed over payments to Safe Pathways
- Damning new report shows vulnerable children falling between gaps
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma is missing in action while an unfolding emergency in the child protection system continues with frontline workers speaking out and a damning new report calling for urgent intervention.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said Mrs Petrusma had extremely serious issues to address.
“The Premier has been very quick – too quick – to dismiss the very alarming concerns of three current and former child protection officers who are so concerned about the state of the system they have chosen to speak out,” Ms White said.
“Mr Hodgman claims their concerns have no foundation but what has he done to satisfy himself there has been no political interference?
“These are serious allegations and they require a serious inquiry, not a token two hour investigation.
“There are also serious questions to be answered about the amounts paid to Safe Pathways which allegedly failed to provide kids in its care with adequate food, clothing and even shelter.
“A fortnight ago, the Minister said Safe Pathways had been paid $1.16 million since July 2015 but RTI documents received by the ABC yesterday show a figure of more than $1.94 million between March last year and January this year.
“That serious discrepancy needs to be addressed.
“In addition, Anglicare’s Highly Vulnerable Teens in Tasmania report which will be released today is calling for an urgent intervention to stop abused, neglected and abandoned children slipping through the gaps of what it describes as a “broken” safety net.
“The position of Child Protection Minister – the person ultimately responsible for the care of Tasmania’s most vulnerable kids – requires someone who is hands-on.
“Under this Minister’s watch, there has been mistake after mistake in this crucial area.
“It’s not good enough that while new emergencies are emerging in child protection, this Minister is nowhere to be seen.”